The railway between Preston and Blackpool South has fully reopened after two consecutive weekends of work to replace a bridge over the railway.
As part of the Great North Rail Project, Network Rail worked round-the-clock over the last two weekends to install a new bridge on Highbury Road in Lytham St Annes.
During the railway closures between Kirkham & Wesham and Blackpool South stations, a railway-mounted ‘Kirow’ crane was used to lift 27 concrete beams into place forming a new bridge over the railway.
Improvements will make the bridge safer, more reliable and in need of less maintenance in future.
The final phase of work to reinstate utilities through the bridge, as well as the new road surface, will continue and the bridge is due to reopen to all traffic on Friday 10 May. Pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to cross the railway using a temporary crossing throughout the project's duration.
Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “This is a serious amount of investment on the South Fylde line and I am delighted to see trains return at weekends after a short closure for vital repair work.
“I know residents will be pleased to see the bridge fully reopen soon, and will be further pleased the bridge is in safe condition, and will require less maintenance in future years.”
Kathryn Berry, scheme project manager for Network Rail, said: “We’ve reached a major milestone at Highbury Road in St Annes, to install a brand new bridge over the railway as part of the Great North Rail Project.
“A total of 27 precast concrete beams have been successfully installed, which form the deck and sides of the new structure. The Blackpool South line was reopened to trains on time this morning.
“We’d like to thank passengers, residents and road users for their patience.”
Chris Jackson, regional director for Northern, said: “The bridge work at St Annes has been completed on time and I’m grateful to our customers for their patience during the past two weekends.
“The new structure will need less maintenance than the previous bridge and so is key to giving Northern customers a more reliable and resilient railway.”
Passengers can check and plan any journey at www.nationalrail.co.uk.