Network Rail invests £17m in Cheshire bridge and viaduct this February: Announced: Cheshire viaducts upgrade -  Jan 2016

Thursday 21 Jan 2016

Network Rail invests £17m in Cheshire bridge and viaduct this February

Region & Route:
| North West & Central

Network Rail is investing £17m to protect Cheshire’s most iconic railway bridges for decades to come.

The vital refurbishment will make the railway safer and more reliable for passengers, motorists, pedestrians and canal users but the scale of the work means the line from Crewe to Manchester and Sandbach to Northwich will be closed between 13 and 24 February while the improvements are made. 

As part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan the Grade-II listed viaducts at Holmes Chapel and Peover – two of Cheshire’s most well-known architectural landmarks – are receiving a full makeover, including the removal of water stains on the walls, brickwork repairs and waterproofing.

At the same time, Network Rail engineers will undertake strengthening work to the Hungerford Road bridge in Crewe, Shipbrook Road bridge in Rudheath and to the Whatcroft underbridge and the Trent and Mersey Canal bridge in Davenham.

Network Rail and the train operators which run services on the line – Arriva Trains Wales, Northern Rail, CrossCountry and Virgin Trains – have all worked closely to run as many trains as possible during the work. Some journeys will take longer than usual and some will be replaced by regular bus services.         

Terry Strickland, area director for Network Rail 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.

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

A spokesperson on behalf of Virgin Trains, Northern Rail, CrossCountry trains and Arriva Trains 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.

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. Local rail services will also be affected between Wilmslow, Stockport and Crewe. Replacement bus services will be provided and alternative routes will be signposted for all passengers who are affected. (Full details are provided below.)

Passengers are advised to check before they travel with their train operator or at   


Notes to editors

The key schemes within this package of improvement works that will take place from 13-24 February are as follows:

  • Holmes Chapel Viaduct,
  • Peover Viaduct (subject to planning permission)
  • Hungerford Road bridge, Crewe
  • Wilmslow Station subway
  • Whatcroft underbridge
  • Trent & Mersey Canal bridge
  • Shipbrook Road bridge, Rudheath

These works will affect the following networks only:


Crewe North Junction – Cheadle Hulme and Northwich (Sandbach North Junction branch line.) All Lines

  • 05 Sat – 05.45 Mon (13-15 February and 20- 22 February)


Sandbach North Junction – Alderley Edge (All lines)

  • 25 Mon 15 – 00.25 Sat 20 February 2016
  • 25 Mon 22 – 04.40 Wed 24 February 2016

To ensure that passengers can continue to travel during the 11 day closure in February 2016, the affected train operating companies will be running the following amended services:

Northern Rail:

Monday 15 – Friday 19 February and Monday 22 -Tuesday 23 February

  • Train services to operate from Manchester Piccadilly – Alderley Edge via Stockport and via Manchester Airport.
  • Regular replacement buses to be provided between Wilmslow and Crewe calling at all stations.

Saturday Sunday (13-14 and 20-21 February)

  • Train services operate Manchester Piccadilly – Wilmslow via Manchester Airport.
  • Train services operate Manchester Piccadilly – Stockport
  • Regular replacement buses to be provided between Stockport and Crewe calling at all stations.

Virgin Trains:

Manchester Piccadilly – London Euston via Crewe services diverted via Stoke and Macclesfield, and will not call at Wilmslow.

Arriva Trains Wales

South Wales – Manchester services will be diverted via Warrington to terminate/start at Manchester Oxford Road.


Those services which normally operate via Crewe will be diverted via Stoke and Macclesfield.


Services to and from Trafford Park that normally operate via Holmes Chapel will be diverted via Stoke and Macclesfield.

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
07740 782954

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.

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