Network Rail is to spend £17m refurbishing four bridges and two viaducts in February. The Crewe to Manchester and Sandbach to Northwich lines will be closed for 11 days to allow the works to take place.
The work will be carried out between 13 February and 24 February 2016.
The grade-2 listed viaducts at Holmes Chapel and Peover will be given a full makeover. Water stains on the walls of both viaducts will be removed, damaged brickwork will be repaired and both structures will be made waterproof.
At the same time, Network Rail engineers will undertake strengthening work to the Hungerford Road bridge in Crewe, Shipbrook Road bridge in Rudheath, and to the Whatcroft underbridge and the Trent & Mersey Canal bridge in Davenham.
Terry Strickland, area director for Network Rail, said: “As part of our Railway Upgrade Plan, we are committed to delivering this major investment programme to improve the long-term reliability of a number of iconic and integral railway structures in Cheshire.
“To ensure the safety of our staff and passengers while we undertake this vital work from 13 to 24 February, the Crewe to Manchester and Sandbach to Northwich railway lines will be closed to both passenger and freight services. I would like to apologise to passengers in advance for any disruption this may cause.
“We care about passengers and by delivering these improvements as a package, we have minimised the level of disruption and reduced the need for future maintenance work. We have also saved half a million pounds which we can spend on further improvements elsewhere on the railway.”
A spokesman on behalf of Virgin Trains, Northern Rail, CrossCountry trains and Arriva Trains said: “We understand that improvement works impact on passengers. This investment is vital and will deliver real benefits in helping to provide customers with a more reliable railway. All affected train operating companies are working closely with Network Rail to ensure alternative travel arrangements are in place wherever possible and to keep disruption to a minimum whilst this important work is carried out. Our advice to all customers travelling between Manchester and Crewe is to check their journey before they travel.”
The 11-day closure of these routes will mean that services to Manchester from London and South Wales (and vice-versa) will temporarily by-pass Crewe and be diverted via Macclesfield and Stockport. Local rail services will also be affected between Wilmslow, Stockport and Crewe. Replacement bus services will be provided and alternative routes will be signposted for all passengers who are affected.