Gauxholme viaduct in Lancashire, designed by George Stephenson, built in 1840 and Grade II listed, is to receive a makeover as part of a £3.7 million Network Rail project.
The 180-year-old bridge spans the Rochdale canal. It was built by the Manchester and Leeds railway as a cast-iron segmented arch supported by four semi-octagonal towers. In the mid-20th century, a steel bridge was inserted to actually carry the line, leaving the original cast-iron bridge to act as a balustrade.
Principal contractor J Murphy & Sons will have the bridge grit blasted back to bare metal for structural repairs to take place. It will then be deep cleaned and repainted back to its Victorian splendour.
So that the work can take place safely, Lea Scaffolding will install a suspended access scaffold to the full metallic structure, spanning the canal, with full access to all masonry spans, including the four corner turrets.
At the same time, Taylors bridge, which carries the railway over Rose Bank Road near Todmorden station, will also be completely reconstructed with two disused sections permanently removed as part of the same investment.
Both projects mean the railway through Todmorden will be entirely closed from Saturday 24 October to Sunday 1 November.
Network Rail’s project manager for the scheme, Kathryn Berry, said: “This work to restore the impressive Gauxholme viaduct and renew Taylor’s bridge is essential to improve passenger journeys through Todmorden.
“We have been working closely with Calderdale Council on our plans and thank passengers, road users and the local community in advance for their patience while we deliver this essential work.”
During the nine-day railway closure there will be no trains between Blackburn and Manchester via Todmorden. A temporary footpath closure will be in place beneath Gauxholme viaduct with a small diversionary route in place for pedestrians. A pontoon will also be set up on the canal to allow workers to access the structure.
At Taylor’s bridge, access for residents via Rose Bank Road will be maintained during the project.
Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern, said: “The upgrade and repair work near Todmorden is key to future-proofing the rail network in the area and will give Northern customers a modern infrastructure for many years to come between Hebden Bridge and Rochdale.
“We’re working closely with Network Rail to keep disruption to a minimum and will be providing rail replacement transport while the work is carried out.”