Council chiefs are launching a bid for £1m of Government cash in a move which will go a long way towards ending the region's railway bridges scandal.

North Yorkshire County Council will ask for the money which would finish off its long-running programme of repairs, following a successful Northern Echo campaign.

The authority has already strengthened 11 of its decaying road-over-rail bridges, bringing peace of mind to motorists who were often shielded from plunging on to the tracks only by rotting fences and crumbling barriers. The Echo had fought for new Government guidelines to end the unseemly squabbling between several authorities which was holding up improvements.

And changes in policy were finally announced this February - two years after the Selby train crash killed ten people when a Land Rover was able to career off a motorway and into the path of an express train.

Now, council officials in North Yorkshire say they will submit an application to the Government in their Local Transport Plan for the funding needed to complete work on structures in the county.

About 33 bridges were identified as needing work and, if the £1m bid is successful, it would also cover the cost of repairs the council had to make earlier as a matter of urgency.

Brian Jones, of the environmental services department, said documents were still being drafted but would be formally submitted in July.

"We have got another six bridges which we are already doing barrier designs for, so now we're really just waiting for this further funding," he said.

"Overall the bid is about £1m and that will cover work we have already done. We assume the Government will deal with Network Rail's contribution."

Durham County Council has carried out work on potentially lethal structures, despite believing that they were not its responsibility. Darlington Borough Council has also launched a programme of repair work.

The Echo's campaign reached the top when we addressed an all-party Parliamentary group on road safety.

That came after our investigations into 50 bridge barriers on the East Coast main line, between Newcastle and York, found the majority to have dismally inadequate protection.