On Friday the 14th of June 2002 East Lancashire was hit by severe rainstorms causing rivers and roads to flood. The East Lancashire Railway was also hit by flooding at Ramsbottom and Townsendfold and after the waters had subsided all seemed well, however, during the storm the River Irwell (which runs under the track in several places) had swollen to such an extent that a very large tree became uprooted and was carried along the river. The tree eventually came to rest after impacting with Ashenbottom Bridge (The second bridge over the river between Irwell Vale and Rawtenstall - MAP) and shattered the middle supporting pier. Train services from Bury could only now travel as far as Irwell Vale and in most cases only ran to Ramsbottom using an emergency timetable. Early estimates put the cost of repairing the bridge at as much as £250,000. The good news is that after only a little over 5 months from the damage the pier was dismantled, rebuilt and the bridge is now back in use restoring the Railway's connection with Rawtenstall. The sets of photographs below show the progress from start to finish.

Click for Photo Index #1 The damage as it was 14th & 22nd June 2002
[ Flood Photos #1 ]
Click for Photo Index #2 Progess on the Bridge July & September 2002
[ Flood Photos #2 ]
Click for Photo Index #3 New pier taking shape - Oct & Nov 2002
[ Flood Photos #3 ]
Click for Photo Index #4 Pier Completion - Nov 2002 & Jan 2003
[ Flood Photos #4 ]

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