Passengers who travel between Crewe and Manchester are being advised to plan ahead as work to replace a bridge over the West Coast main line will ramp up in early 2019.

For four consecutive weekends, from Saturday 2 to Sunday 24 February, Network Rail will carry out work to replace the Sydney Road bridge in Crewe.

The project is being delivered by Network Rail on behalf of Cheshire East Council and includes replacing the existing single-lane road bridge with a structure wide enough to accommodate two-way traffic and safer routes for cyclists and pedestrians.

A closure of the railway is needed to safely remove the existing bridge structure and lift the new, wider bridge into place using a giant crane.

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

Chris Atkins, project manager for Network Rail, said: “We are working closely with the train operators to minimise the disruption to passengers and raise awareness of these changes to weekend services between Crewe and Manchester in February.

“We understand that this work also affects our lineside neighbours and have written to residents who live near to where our work is taking place.

“There is never a good time to impact journeys but we have planned the work to affect the fewest number of passengers over the shortest period of time. This is essential work and I’d like to thank passengers in advance for their understanding.”

During the closures, Virgin Trains and CrossCountry services to and from Manchester will not call at Crewe or Wilmslow and be diverted via Stoke-on-Trent. Northern’s train services will start and terminate at Alderley Edge, with bus replacement services operating between Wilmslow and Crewe.

Work to replace the Sydney Road bridge began in October and has required a closure of the road, which will remain in place until the end of May 2019. A clearly sign-posted diversion route remains in place and a temporary footbridge has been installed for pedestrians.

For travel information visit www.nationalrail.co.uk