A bridge over Gala Water is laid down

26/09/13 - 13092613 - NETWORK RAIL'GALASHIELS'A new bridge is craned into position

26/09/13 - 13092613 - NETWORK RAIL'GALASHIELS'A new bridge is craned into position

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This giant crane has been used by a construction team to restore a river bridge near Galashiels that will carry the Borders Railway.

The bridge at Ryehaugh on the outskirts of Galashiels near Torwoodlee was part of the Waverley Route which was axed in January 1969.

Once the rails were lifted the track became a popular walkway, but the decking was eventually removed, ostensibly on grounds of safety.

The 450-tonne crane swung four pre-cast concrete beams, each weighing more than 20 tonnes, into place.

A 12-strong construction team completed the work in one day. Prior to the beams being out in place, the original stone supports were repaired.

The team will take two days at the end of this month to have the bridge ready for the tracks.

Network Rail’s projector director Hugh Wark said: “The team did a sterling job in completing the work in just one day. The new beams have already helped bring the bridge once again to life.

“It is a really exciting challenge working with an older structure and although some of the elements of this particular bridge are more than 150 years old, it is really robust.

“While this is the first in a number of bridge works we are completing across the south of the line, it is also the largest.”

More than 200 bridges – new and restored – will help make up the line running from Tweedbank to Edinburgh Waverley.

It is due to open in the summer of 2015.

The Ryehaugh Bridge is officially Number 92, although on the Waverley Route it was Number 88. The Ryehaugh, on the northern edge of the town, was a popular picnic area and used for camping by local youngsters.

And the bridge itself, after the demise of the railway, became a diving platform for a deep pool in the river. It could easily be reached from the Wood Street side of the town.