Holmes Viaduct

UK rail infrastructure manager Network Rail (NR) is investing £17m to refurbish the old bridges and viaducts in Cheshire.

A part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan, the refurbishment will make the railway safer and more reliable for passengers, motorists, pedestrians and canal users.

Work under this project will be carried out between 13 and 24 February when the line from Crewe to Manchester and Sandbach to Northwich will be closed.

As part of the project, the Grade-II listed viaducts at Holmes Chapel and Peover will receive a full makeover, including the removal of water stains on the walls, brickwork repairs and waterproofing.

"This investment is vital and will deliver real benefits in helping to provide customers with a more reliable railway."

Strengthening work will also be carried out by Network Rail engineers at the Hungerford Road bridge in Crewe, Shipbrook Road bridge in Rudheath, as well as to the Whatcroft underbridge and the Trent and Mersey Canal bridge in Davenham.

Network Rail area director Terry Strickland said: "While the work will cause some disruption to passengers’ journeys for 11 days, Network Rail has worked with the train operators to ensure all of this work can be conducted at the same time, saving £500,000 of taxpayers’ money and avoiding longer-term disruption.

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"I’d like to thank passengers in advance for their patience while the work takes place."

Along with rail operators Arriva Trains Wales, Northern Rail, CrossCountry and Virgin Trains, Network Rail will jointly work to run as many trains as possible during the work.

A Virgin Trains, Northern Rail, CrossCountry trains and Arriva Trains spokesperson said: "We understand that improvement works impact on passengers. This investment is vital and will deliver real benefits in helping to provide customers with a more reliable railway.

"All affected train operating companies are working closely with Network Rail to ensure alternative travel arrangements are in place wherever possible and to keep disruption to a minimum whilst this important work is carried out.

"Our advice to all customers travelling between Manchester and Crewe is to check their journey before they travel."

It is reported that during the 11-day closure, services to Manchester from London and South Wales (and vice-versa) will temporarily by-pass Crewe and be diverted via Macclesfield and Stockport.

Image: The Grade-II listed viaduct at Holmes Chapel. Photo: courtesy of Network Rail.