Page last updated at 07:15 GMT, Thursday, 19 June 2008 08:15 UK

Bridge demolished in flood plan

Bridge being demolished
The floods caused 250m of damage

A bridge is being demolished in an effort to improve flood defences for parts of Cumbria.

Demolition of the railway bridge across the River Caldew at Carlisle marks the start of the second phase of a 37m flood defence plan for the city.

The bridge is currently not in use and has run into disrepair.

Three people died in Carlisle during devastating floods in January 2005, in which 175mm (7ins) of rain fell in just 36 hours, causing 250m of damage.

Runaway train

Environment Agency spokesman Craig Cowperthwaite, said: "Removing the bridge and its supports will help increase the flow of water down the River Caldew and will contribute to reducing the flood risk."

Two cranes will be installed alongside the bridge. A smaller 50m (164ft) high, 80 ton crane will be used to suspend workmen above the river as they cut through the girders that weigh between two and 12 tons, which will be removed by the larger 60m (197ft) high, 250 ton crane.

It is expected the project will take three weeks.

The bridge dates from the 1870s and is known locally for an incident in 1984, when a quick-thinking signalman diverted a runaway train of container wagons and prevented an accident at Carlisle station.

The wagons crashed into the river and the line was never reinstated.

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