An iconic railway viaduct in Lancashire has been strengthened to ensure reliable railway journeys for passengers for decades to come.

As part of the Great North Rail Project, £500,000 was invested to restore and reinforce the iconic viaduct which carries the railway over the River Keer near Capernwray.

So engineers could safely carry out the work on the riverbed and viaduct walls, the River Keer was temporarily dammed and diverted through a pipe.

During this time, Network Rail carefully relocated 157 fish upstream, including 22 salmon and 13 brown trout.

Thomas Carrington, scheme project manager for Network Rail, said: “We have refurbished Capernwray rail viaduct as part of the Great North Rail Project to ensure the structure remains safe and viable for Northern and their passengers between Carnforth and Settle.

“Over the years, Capernwray Viaduct has suffered damaged by the River Keer moving material that has eroded the foundations. We needed to divert the water to safely access the viaduct walls either side of the river bed to carry out repairs and install rock armour to protect the structure.

“We worked closely with the Environment Agency during the work, allowing us to bring the project forward to help minimise disruption to our lineside neighbours and the local environment.”

Great care was taken by Network Rail to restore the structure on the Settle to Carnforth line to its Victorian glory.

Work included restoring brickwork, strengthening 11 arches with special anchors and plates, and protecting the structure’s footings in the river from erosion.

Years of built up dirt was also cleaned from the length of the viaduct.