‘Nesting bird’ held up rail bridge repairs

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THE rail company which has undertaken over £2 million of repairs on the Esk Valley line have apologised after the work took a week longer than expected.

Network Rail has successfully replaced four bridges on the Middlesbrough to Whitby line – Duck, Danby, Thorneywaite and Carr End – as part of a £2.1 million investment.

Work overran after complications arose with the Carr End Bridge and Phil Verster, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “I apologise unreservedly to everyone who has been inconvenienced by the extended programme.

“We are very aware of the disruption this extension of the works has caused Network Rail’s passengers and the local community.

“We have made every effort to complete the works in a safe manner and as quickly as possible.”

A ‘nesting bird’ was quoted as one of the reasons for the hold-up, but other delaying factors included structural issues, poor weather conditions and difficulties with a crane.

Network Rail decided to extend the work and to assure its completion and assured residents that engineers worked “around the clock” to get the project completed, allowing the line to reopen at 6am on 16 June.

Angie Thirkill, manager for the Esk Valley Railway Community Rail Partnership, said that as 40% of Whitby and Middlesbrough residents do not have access to a car, the Esk Valley route is an essential lifeline for the community.

She added: “These bridges were ‘life-expired’ and needed replacing.

“There is never a right time for such major work, but half term was considered the most expedient.

“Network Rail has worked hard with all parties to deliver this project.

“I trust the community fully appreciates what the investment in the line represents.”

Alternative road transport, which included a school service, was made available to minimise the impact on passengers.

Richard Allan, area director for Northern Rail, said: “We hope that our passengers on the Esk Valley line will appreciate the work Network Rail has undertaken in June.

“The route is a crucial link for the local community and the work being done will ensure it will continue to provide not only a safe rail service between Whitby and Middlesbrough but also a reliable one, for years to come.”