Work to replace two ageing rail bridges in Thanet, Kent, will be carried out by Network Rail engineers over this weekend (12 and 13 June) within a few miles of each other.
Minnis Road and Creek River bridges, near Birchington-on-Sea, have reached the end of their working lives, with speed restrictions placed on them for safety reasons. To avoid delaying trains any further, both bridges are being replaced by new structures, being craned into place overnight on Saturday and track laid on Sunday.
As a result, there will be no trains between Herne Bay and Margate on Saturday, and Herne Bay and Ramsgate on Sunday. Trains on the London-Thanet route via Canterbury West will run with more carriages to help bring more passengers to the beach.
Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s Route Director for Kent, said: “These two bridges have reached the end of their useful lives and their replacement will provide passengers with smoother and more reliable journeys.
“There is never a good time to close the railway so we are doing everything we can to replace both bridges over a single weekend, minimising disruption for road and rail users.”
Scott Brightwell, Train Services Director at Southeastern, said: “We support these works taking place which will allow line speeds in the area to be restored back to their maximum allowing us to offer a better service to our passengers.
“Rail replacement services will be in place and passengers affected will only face minimal delays in getting to their destinations.”
Preparation for the work is well underway – the removal and installation of the bridges will be carried out using two large road mobile cranes, capable of lifting 750 and 600 tonnes respectively. After the bridge decks have been lifted into place, the railway will be rebuilt on top, the speed restrictions in the area will be lifted, and passengers will enjoy smoother and more reliable journeys.
Pedestrian access to cross under the railway at Minnis Road will be closed during the weekend 12 June and a COVID-secure mini-bus service will be provided between both sides of the bridge.
Passengers planning to travel during this time are urged to check their journeys at www.nationalrail.co.uk