Bridge bill tops £1/2m

PUBLISHED: 11:38 16 August 2007 | UPDATED: 12:43 04 May 2010

A MAJOR operation to remove a derailed train from the bridge over Ely s River Ouse has so far run up a £500,000 bill. The cost is expected to rise considerably higher as work is under way to design a new bridge to carry trains. The figure was revealed as

A MAJOR operation to remove a derailed train from the bridge over Ely's River Ouse has so far run up a £500,000 bill.

The cost is expected to rise considerably higher as work is under way to design a new bridge to carry trains.

The figure was revealed as the waterway was re-opened on Friday, allowing boats through for the first time since the accident on June 22.

It was good news for Bridge Boatyard owners Chris and Phil Wenn, who have struggled to keep their business going.

With bookings for hire boats through the summer, they have been forced to run much of their operation from boatyards in St Ives and Earith.

"We are very relieved it's over," said Chris. "It's been a hard seven weeks.

"We have had great support from other boatyards but we have covered a lot of miles getting customers backwards and forwards."

He was hopeful there would be some compensation to cover lost business and disruption.

Network Rail has been working to remove 11 derailed wagons, including two hanging over the bridge.

It had to build a mile-long roadway to take heavy lifting gear across marshland to reach the stranded wagons.

Officials have been liaising with the Environment Agency to dredge the river to clear aggregate which fell from the wagons.

When construction of the new crossing starts, the river will remain open and a temporary pontoon bridge will be put in place.

The pontoon will act like a swing bridge to allow plant equipment to be transported across the river and let boats pass through.

Network Rail Anglia Route director Patrick Hallgate said: "We're very happy that, after several weeks of incredibly hard work by all involved, we're able to reopen the river.

"We're now focused on finalising the design of the new bridge and its construction. This is likely to take a number of months.

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