Monday 6 Oct 2003


Region & Route:
Network Rail is to spend £1.3m replacing Wardle Bridge, which carries the west coast main line over the Shropshire Union canal south of Winsford station in Cheshire. Preparatory work has already taken place over a number of weekends but the main task of lifting out the old bridge and putting in the new one will be carried out on Saturday and Sunday 18 and 19 October. Wardle Bridge should more correctly be called Wardle Bridges as there are two separate structures carrying the four railway tracks. The two southbound lines are on a steel deck, which is to be fully refurbished, whereas the northbound tracks are on concrete, which will be replaced entirely. The majority of the work will be done by the North West Structures Alliance, a partnership between Network Rail and Wigan-based Edmund Nuttall Ltd and will involve switching off the electricity to the 25,000 volt overhead cables that supply trains with their power; taking down the power lines; removing the track, sleepers and ballast (the grey stones that the track sits on); lifting out the old concrete deck; repairing the bridge supports; lifting the new concrete deck into position. Once this has been done, new ballast, sleepers and track can be laid and the power lines put up again to enable the electricity to be turned on so that trains can run. Shouldering the burden of the heavy work will be a specialist 1,000 tonnes crane used to lift the old deck out and swing the new one into place. - more - Wardle – 2       To enable the work to go ahead, British Waterways has co-operated to allow the canal and towpath to be closed overnight from Monday 13 to Tuesday 21 October. They will also be closed entirely from Thursday 16 October until they reopen on the following Tuesday (21 October). Canal users are being asked to plan their journeys to avoid the area during the work but limited cranage facilities will be available for craft requiring urgent passage. Full details can be found on the British Waterways web site or by calling their customer services on 01606 723800. In addition to the canal and towpath closure, trains will also be affected on the Saturday and Sunday (18/19 October). Information on the effect on trains can be obtained by calling the national rail enquiry service on 08457 48 49 50, by logging on to or by checking with the various train operators. Network Rail regional director Tim Clarke said: “This is a vital task in our effort to rebuild the railway and will ensure the services on the west coast main line linking London with the north west and Scotland continue to operate safely for many years to come. The work could not have gone ahead without the considerable co-operation of British Waterways, for which we are extremely grateful.” British Waterways northern managing director Derek Cochrane said: “Obviously we never like to disrupt navigation along the canal network, particularly during the main summer season. However, as Network rail has had to bring forward their work programme for operational reasons, we have agreed on this occasion to give them our full co-operation.”

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - North West & Central Region
0330 854 0100

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: