Jul 2020 – Keswick, Cumbria

Covid notwithstanding, the £8 million project to rebuild the Keswick – Threlkeld railway path in Cumbria continues apace, and remains on target for completion by the end of the year. Contractors have been carrying out work to stabilise river banks washed away by Storm Desmond in 2015. Two bowstring rail-over-river bridges designed by Sir Thomas Bouch have also been reinstated and there are some excellent videos of this work on YouTube. Low Pearson’s and Brundholme Bridges have been replaced, while an abutment of a third – Rawsome’s – has been repaired. Such was the damage of the river banks at the Brundholme site that the new bridge is 20 metres longer than the old one. The greatest achievement however is the opening-up of the two short tunnels on the route: Big or Bobbin Tunnel, a 92-yard structure that today burrows under the A 66, was infilled when the railway closed in 1972. A few thousand tons of material have been removed and it will soon form a welcome addition to the revamped cycleway and path; Wescoe Tunnel was completely blocked by mud and debris from Storm Desmond and has now been cleared (see picture on back cover of magazine No. 167). (Jeff Vinter; Bob Prigg; Forgotten Relics)