100-year-old swing bridges to be upgraded in £5.5m scheme

An aerial view of Reedham.

An aerial view of Reedham. Picture: Mike Page - Credit: Mike Page

Three historic swing bridges in Norfolk and Suffolk are set to be refurbished as part of a £5.5 million programme of works.

Network Rail are set to renew and refurbish the existing electrical and mechanical parts of three swing bridges to keep services running and prevent disruption at the ports and marinas.

The internal components at Oulton Broad, Somerleyton and Reedham swing bridges haven’t been replaced in more than 100 years, but they have been repaired frequently - costing over £100,000 a year to maintain.

So from early next year a programme of works will begin with internal upgrades made as part of a £5.5m scheme.

Work will start on the bridges at Reedham and Somerleyton in February 2022 with rail replacement buses in operation. 

The NYL Rail resignalling project. Work at Somerleyton swing bridge. Picture: David Taylor Network R

Somerleyton swing bridge. Picture: David Taylor Network Rail - Credit: David Taylor Network Rail


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The works on all three structures is expected to be completed by Summer 2023.

Network Rail will replace the winch system, hydraulic jacks and pipework, lighting across the bridges, and install a new power system.

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They said that this "will make the structures easier to maintain" for 25 years, saving up to a combined £7.5m in future costs.

Survey work has already been completed with Network Rail using drones to allow engineers to complete the surveys in a number of hours - with the railway still operating.

Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “These bridges are an important part of our railway heritage and also an important part of keeping both rail and boat traffic moving.

"Renewing the components will reduce the risk of mechanical problems and help keep services running safely, smoothly and reliably for our passengers, as well as maintaining access to the ports and marinas.

“The use of drones to complete survey work is a great example of how we’re innovating to keep the railway running with minimised risk to our staff, minimised disruption for passengers and at reduced cost for taxpayers.”

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, added: “This work will make our Norwich and Ipswich to Lowestoft lines even more reliable, which I know our customers will welcome.

"While the work is going on we will make sure customers can still complete their journeys with a rail replacement bus service.”








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