Project Outline

Murphy restored three Grade II listed rail bridges to their former Victorian splendour at Great Ducie Street, Manchester. The oldest structure - Stephenson Bridge dates to 1844 and its 1884 extension formed part of the longest passenger platform in Europe. The Network Rail design and build contract included restoring historically significant cast iron parapets designed by George Stephenson as part of the Manchester and Leeds Railway Company's trans-Pennine route. The distinguishing features of this scheme were the historical significance of the structure engineering quality and the complexity of both the design and construction required to successfully complete the scheme due to numerous challenging site constraints.

Work on the grade II listed underbridges was needed due to the deterioration of the protective paintwork and cast-iron elements. The renovation will ensure that busy passenger and freight services can run reliably through Manchester for decades to come.

Key challenges

Works were carried out in an extremely busy and challenging town centre environment.

Project delivery and innovations

As the principal contractor working on the refurbishment, we undertook:

  • Grit blasting
  • Painting
  • Steel work repairs
Key facts
  • Network Rail recently won a National Heritage Award – “The Costain Structures Award” – for the restoration work on Great Ducie Street and Deansgate bridges in Manchester.  We are pleased to have been part of the team delivering these renovations for Network Rail. The prestigious accolade was presented to Network Rail on 2 December at the National Railway Heritage Awards in a virtual awards ceremony.
  • The Ducie Street bridge refurbishment project was also shortlisted for the CECA small project award.
  • The corroded decorative steelwork was reproduced and forged using traditional methods by specialist blacksmiths in the West Midlands. Historic paint research was also carried out to ensure the bridges were returned near to their original Victorian colour scheme.
  • The three 175-year-old bridges at Ducie Street outside Manchester Victoria Station link important passenger and freight services from Merseyside, North, West and East Lancashire, and Greater Manchester, to the city and across the country.
  • The Ducie St bridge refurbishments won the Costain Structures award at the at the 2020 National Railway Heritage Awards.
    The Ducie St bridge refurbishments won the Costain Structures award at the at the 2020 National Railway Heritage Awards.

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