Network Rail has replaced a railway bridge in Crofton, which was built over 140 years ago, in a £3.7million upgrade project.

Doncaster Road bridge had been damaged over the years after being hit by lorries and high sided vehicles. Replacing the bridge, which carries to Knottingley to Leeds line, for a newer, stronger one means passenger and freight services can now continue running safely and reliably for years to come.

Swapping the old bridge for a newer version is not quite as simple as it sounds. Over the past four months, teams have carried out vital work on site, with the main part of the project taking place over the Christmas period, when no trains were running on the line.

Once the old bridge was removed, the stronger one, which weighs around 635 tonnes, was installed from underneath and put in place at a slightly raised height on Christmas Day. This part of the work was completed earlier than planned, which meant Doncaster Road could reopen for drivers.

Network Rail teams spent the last two years carefully planning the project, so it could take place without disrupting train services. Whilst the bridge was having its reconstruction, it was also important to keep at least one lane on Doncaster Road – a vital link into Wakefield for people in Crofton – open as much as possible, with some full road closures at less busy times.

Matt Rice, Route Director for Network Rail’s North and East route, said: “It’s great to see this major project to upgrade the railway bridge in Crofton complete, so it can continue to be used safely and reliably for future generations.

“The line that the bridge carries, as well as Doncaster Road which runs underneath it, are vital links for people in Wakefield to connect to other towns and cities across the region.

“We want to thank residents and businesses in Crofton for their patience whilst this essential work was carried out.”