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

London North Western

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 -London North Western route
0330 854 0100

About Network Rail

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 36,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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