The work for UK rail network operator Network Rail began at the start of this year. It involves repairs to all 28 arches of the Grade I-listed bridge, which sits across the River Tweed and transports freight goods and passengers between England and Scotland along the East Coast Main Line.

The Royal Border bridge is made up of 28 brick arches

The rail bridge is made up of more than 2.5 million bricks stretching up to 40m high. Teams have adopted a rope access system to save time and money, rather than building scaffolding spanning the length and height of the bridge.

Network Rail said that the full extent of the repairs was hard to pinpoint from the ground but that, upon close inspection, engineers have decided to grasp the opportunity to carry out additional repairs. As a result, the renovations are now expected to last until spring 2023.

Periods of industrial action and delays in getting the listed building consent have also contributed to the project’s extension.

rope access systems are in use at the Royal Border Bridge

Ben Brooks, portfolio delivery director for Network Rail, said: “We’re making great progress so far on the Royal Border Bridge repairs, but we’ve spotted the opportunity to go even further.

“We’ll be carrying out additional repairs to bring the famous bridge back to its former glory, and it’ll mean that we won’t need to complete any major maintenance work on it for the next 30 years.”