It was a busy bank holiday for Network Rail on the line to the Kent coast, where a brand-new type of bridge has been carefully built over the River Stour at Chartham.
It was a busy bank holiday for Network Rail on the line to the Kent coast, where a new type of bridge has been carefully built over the River Stour at Chartham between Ashford and Canterbury.
The new bridge replaces one originally installed in 1900 and will protect the railway against one in a hundred-year floods on the railway line, and allow line speeds to be increased immediately for faster journeys.
It was a part of a series of works engineers undertook in Kent over the holidays, including preparations for the construction of the new Thanet Parkway station as well as track work at Charlton Junction in South East London and between Strood and Paddock Wood.
The improvement works will bring long term benefits for passengers through increased reliability and more comfortable journeys, and in the case of Thanet Parkway, support better local connectivity with the addition of a new station on the network.
Network Rail Kent Route Infrastructure Director Bob Coulson said: “We’re pleased we managed to carry out a complex and varied series of works as passengers continue to return to our railway and our work to maintain and improve it for them continues non-stop.
“Our work is about providing resilience for the future on a network that in the case of the River Stour bridge hasn’t been upgraded for over a hundred years and was a particularly vulnerable part of our network to flooding.
“It’s all part of the biggest ever investment in the Kent route, some £1.25 billion between 2020 and 2025 which will see ageing equipment and infrastructure replaced with brand new, reliable technology to make passengers journeys better.”
Scott Brightwell, Train Services Director at Southeastern, said:
“Our trains were busy over the bank holiday with people getting out and about to enjoy the good weather. I want to thank customers for their patience while these essential improvement projects were carried out and I hope it didn’t cause too much inconvenience.
“They will help to improve future journeys for our passengers and it was great to see work getting underway at the new Thanet Parkway station.”
And the work continues with work to replace two ageing rail bridges near Herne Bay on the Chatham mainline will be carried out over the weekend starting 12 June 2021.
Minnis Road and Creek River bridges, near Birchington-on-Sea, have reached the end of their working lives with speed restrictions placed on them, requiring both to be replaced.
Preparation for the works is well underway with the removal and installation of the bridges to be carried out using two large road mobile cranes, capable of lifting 750 and 600 tonnes respectively.
Photo credit: Network Rail