The Cumbrian Coast railway line is back on track after three devastating storms forced a section of it to close.

From Monday, Northern Rail services started again after Network Rail completely replaced a railway bridge, which had been damaged beyond repair at Parton.

Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge battered the bridge throughout March.

For the last 11 weeks the railway between Whitehaven and Workington has been closed so that the bridge could be made safe and reliable again.

Network Rail teams replaced the damaged underpass beneath the railway, strengthened the sea wall and relaid the track.

Trains can now run on the line between Workington and Whitehaven, but Network Rail teams expect to be on site for another month to finish work to improve fencing and landscaping in the surrounding area.

Phil James, route director for Network Rail’s north west route, said: “The scale of the storm damage on the railway at Parton was significant, and I’m pleased that the Cumbrian Coast line is now available for essential passenger and freight services.”

Mr James praised the repair teams for completing the repairs in spite of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Our teams have worked tremendously hard over the last 11 weeks to get the railway back up and running, and the upheaval that Covid-19 has caused in that time makes the focus and teamwork demonstrated by colleagues all the more impressive,” he said.

Chris Jackson, the regional director of Northern, which operates the services on the Cumbrian Coast line, said: “It’s great to be able to welcome our customers back onto trains along the whole of the Cumbrian Coast.

“Network Rail has done a fantastic job in not only repairing the damage, but also making improvements to the existing infrastructure.

“Our customers have already shown remarkable patience while the work was completed, but I ask them to please continue to be understanding as we work through the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

“Though our trains have returned, capacity on those trains is significantly reduced as we try to help people socially distance while travelling.

“Only essential journeys should be made by rail and I am asking everyone to consider if their journey is absolute necessary and, if not, please leave spaces for those who have to travel.”

Passengers are being instructed to continue following Government guidelines on the use of public transport, and should only use the rail network if necessary, to help maintain social distancing on the railways.