Two railway bridges set to be replaced simultaneously on same route in east Kent to keep railway running safely into the future

Work to replace two ageing rail bridges in Thanet, Kent, will be carried out over the weekend of 12 June 2021, 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.

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.”

Creek River Bridge.

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 works 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.

To minimise the length of time the railway needs to be closed, the new bridge decks have been prefabricated in Nottingham and will be transported to site by road, and railway neighbours will see much of the preparatory works being carried out while the railway is open.

Bridge Deck replacement.

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.

A bus replacement service will operate between Birchington-on-Sea and Herne Bay stations ensuring that passengers can still reach their destinations along the Chatham main line with the minimum of delay.

Passengers planning to travel during this time are urged to check their journeys at www.nationalrail.co.uk

Photo credit: Network Rail

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