A SECOND-HAND bridge that once spanned the A1 has been delivered lock, stock and barrel to a heritage railway which was in desperate need of a crossing.

In what is a recycling project of mammoth proportions, the Wensleydale Railway has taken delivery of Fort Bridge; a road crossing well-known to regular users of the A1.

The structure used to span the dual carriageway close to Catterick Racecourse in North Yorkshire, but was removed during work to upgrade the A1 to a three lane motorway between Leeming and Barton.

The bridge was removed as part of a major civil engineering project undertaken by a Carillion Morgan Sindall joint venture for Highways England.

Shildon-based PTS Demolition and Dismantling successfully removed the bridge during the complex demolition project and it was bought by Wensleydale Railway, which had launched a fundraising campaign to buy the second-hand bridge and install it at Redmire.

Fort Bridge will allow the charity to replace a crossing at Redmire, which was removed by British Rail from the Wensleydale line over Apedale Beck in 1990, due to flood damage. It will move one step further to linking the line to the station at Aysgarth Falls.

Nigel Park, general manager of the Wensleydale Railway, said: “We are very pleased when businesses both local and regional help the railway as PTS Demolition and Dismantling have done with the Fort Bridge. To be able to reuse such an asset to further the railway’s expansion plans is excellent news.”

Dave Gauja, managing director of PTS Demolition & Dismantling, said: “With the safe removal and recycling of Fort Bridge, this will go a long way to helping improve infrastructure in the region and boosting regional economies following the completion of the upgrade work on the A1.

“We are delighted to have supported Wensleydale Railway with the successful removal of Fort Bridge and assist with its ambitious expansion plans. Hopefully, by bridging the gap at Redmire, this will prove to be the catalyst in creating greater connectivity into the Yorkshire Dales by linking the rail line to Aysgarth Falls.”

Wensleydale’s ultimate aim is to one day extend the track all the way to Garsdale and link with the Settle-Carlisle line. The charity has already bought the station at Aysgarth.

The charity has charity has already paid a deposit for the bridge, and will pay around £130 a tonne for the structure, which is thought to weigh about 70 tonnes. A campaign to raise £20,000 has been launched.

Wensleydale Railway has launched a fundraising campaign to help pay for the bridge and its installation at Redmire. So far about £7,000 has been raised.

For further information about the fundraising campaign, or to donate, visit http://www.charitychoice.co.uk/wensleydale-railway-trust-ltd/appeals/help-us-bridge-the-gap