As part of a major £3.7m upgrade project, teams from Network Rail successfully replaced a railway bridge in Crofton, which was built more than 140 years ago.
The existing bridge at Doncaster Road had suffered damage over the years after being hit by lorries and high-sided vehicles.
Replacing the bridge for a new, stronger one ensured that passenger and freight services could continue to run safely and reliably for years to come.
The bridge carries trains on the Knottingley to Leeds line.
However, simply swapping the old bridge for a newer version was a more complex task than it might at first seem. Over the past four months, teams from Network Rail have been on site carrying out vital preparation works, 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. This took place on Christmas Day.
This part of the works was carried out earlier than planned, meaning Doncaster Road could reopen for drivers as normal.
Planning the bridge replacement took more than two years, with the goal of Network Rail to do so without disrupting rail services.
Also a consideration was the need to keep at least one lane open to road traffic on Doncaster Road during the bridge reconstruction, given its role as a vital link into Wakefield for people in Crofton. This was managed with only some minor full road closures during 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.”