143-year-old bridge gets a new lease of life to support passengers on Esk Valley line

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Network Rail has given a 143-year-old bridge in the North York Moors a new lease of life to improve reliability for rail passengers travelling on the Esk Valley line for the next 120 years.

Over the weekend (Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 February), engineers removed the centuries-old bridge near Commondale station and installed a brand-new concrete bridge deck, along with 160 metres of renewed track and supporting ballast and sleepers.

Colin Freeburn, Asset Engineer for Network Rail said: “This bridge has reliably served passengers travelling between Whitby and Middlesbrough for the past 143 years, but it’s time for its next chapter.

“Replacing the bridge and the tracks will allow people to enjoy on time, reliable journeys along the picturesque Esk Valley line well into the future and help to maintain this route which is so well-loved by the community.”

The new bridge will help to offer more reliable, on time journeys for passengers travelling along the Esk Valley line between Whitby and Middlesbrough for the next 120 years and mean that less maintenance work is needed.

North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for highways and transportation said: “We are very pleased to see enhancements on the Esk Valley Rail Line and will continue to work with the rail industry and local stakeholders to ensure further improvements are implemented.”

While the work took place, buses replaced trains along the route to keep people connected between the seaside town of Whitby and the heart of Middlesbrough, as well as the 17 Esk Valley stations in between.

Kerry Peters, Regional Director at Northern said: “All investment in rail infrastructure that improves the customer experience is very much welcomed. The new bridge at Commondale will serve the local community for many years to come and I’d like to thank passengers for their patience while the work was carried out.”

Photo credit: Network Rail

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