Three Manchester railway bridges which have been restored to their Victorian splendour have been officially unveiled, as part of the Great North Rail Project.

The Grade II listed, 175-year-old bridges were painstakingly restored to ensure busy passenger and freight services can run reliably through Manchester Victoria station for decades to come.

A plaque was unveiled  in Great Ducie Street last Friday (25 October) to commemorate the £3.2m Great North Rail Project work by Network Rail, in partnership with the Railway Heritage Trust.

Sarah Padmore, scheme project manager for Network Rail, said: “Bringing these impressive Victorian bridges back to their original state was really important to keep trains running through Manchester safe and reliable for decades to come.

“This £3.2m Great North Rail Project work not only involved vital strengthening work to the historic structure, but it also included repainting using the original colour scheme, which will protect Manchester’s rich railway history.”

Councillor Angeliki Stogia, executive member for environment, planning and transport for Manchester City Council, said: “As we travel, it is so easy to forget the beautiful architecture which surrounds us. The Great North Rail Project has brought back to life three stunning bridges which have for generations underpinned Manchester's railway heritage, securing their future for years to come.”

Paul Childs, company secretary for the Railway Heritage Trust, said: “The Railway Heritage Trust was pleased to provide grant support towards this outstanding restoration project by Network Rail, which has transformed three important historic bridges in the centre of Manchester.”

Network Rail has worked closely with heritage groups to ensure the bridges are properly restored. Corroded decorative steelwork was reproduced and forged using traditional methods by specialist blacksmiths in the West Midlands. Historic paint research was also carried out to ensure the bridges were returned near to their original Victorian colour scheme.

The three bridges link economically important passenger and freight services from Merseyside, North, West and East Lancashire, and Greater Manchester, to the city and across the country.

Network Rail is currently completing a similar restoration of another Victorian bridge next to Deansgate station in the city.

Passengers can plan and check their journeys at www.nationalrail.co.uk