Strange occurrences are going on in a Chester suburb where things appear to go missing when your back is turned.
The Network Rail equivalent of the Bermuda triangle made the Brook Lane bridge disappear over the weekend with other mysterious happenings including trains being replaced by buses and Sunday lie-ins being replaced by loud hammering noises.
Children walking past the site of the bridge in Newton are asking: ‘Daddy, where has the bridge gone?’.
Mischievous parents are claiming it is the work of the Dark Lord himself after Lord Voldemort was spotted drinking in a Chester pub on New Year’s Day.
But the truth is that contractors have been hard at work all weekend removing the aging structure ready for the new bridge to be lifted into place next weekend. And one of two concrete cills, on which the new bridge will sit, has now been installed.
However, the elements were against them.
A giant crane was supposed to lift the cross beams out one-by-one and place them on a specially prepared landing area but strong winds meant it could only be used later in the day for the heaviest edge beams that apparently weigh 30 tons each.
Instead diggers, with chains fitted to the hydraulic arms, were used to lift out the horizontal sections.
This was after the beams had been separated from the framework using jackhammers attached to the diggers and cut from underneath by men on cherry pickers using oxyacetylene cutting gear. Some residents complained on social media about being abruptly awoken early on Sunday to the noise of industrial strength hammering.
Rail travellers were also inconvenienced as the railway line was closed throughout Sunday in the Wirral and Liverpool direction. A bus service was laid on in its place.
But the operation has drawn its admirers even in the wet and windy weather with a small crowd gathering on Sunday afternoon to watch the spectacle from the adjacent footbridge that carries the footpath and cycleway.
Many people who live and work in Chester have been affected by the bridge replacement operation which spans several months and has caused traffic disruption because of the necessary closure of an important cross-city route.
The first phase closure took place between September and early November, caused gridlock in Chester at peak times as the site was prepared.
And the second phase, which began on January 3, is scheduled to last until May 8.
Network Rail Project manager Martin Bell said: “This work is part of our Railway Upgrade Plan which will provide a better and more reliable railway for Britain. We recognise the work to install this new bridge will cause some disruption and thank people in advance for their patience.
“The bridge is coming to the end of its useful, safe life and to ensure the railway and road bridge continue to be safe and reliable, we have to replace it.”