Monday 1 Oct 2007


Region & Route:
Eastern: Anglia
| Eastern
Network Rail has begun to rebuild the rail bridge across the River Ouse at Ely which was damaged following a derailment of a freight train on 22 June. It is hoped that the bridge will be open for passenger and freight services before Christmas. However, the weather will play an important factor going into autumn with any period of adverse conditions potentially creating a set back. High winds in particular will prevent the use of cranes lifting the new steel deck. Simon Brazier, Civil Engineering Programme Manager for Network Rail said: "We’re extremely pleased to be starting the construction phase of this project. There were a number of factors including the marshy fens location and the extent of the damage, which gave us some tricky problems in getting started on reconstruction but I’m confident that we’re now in the home stretch and look forward to restoring services for passengers as soon as possible." Kier Rail, who is carrying out the work on behalf of Network Rail, has begun preparation works ahead of receiving final approval of a new single structure steel decked river span bridge. This is expected in the next few weeks. The 30m steel span will sit on new independently piled reinforced concrete abutments and box culvert side spans. The bridge which will cost around £9m will stretch over 100 metres across the river. It will continue to carry a single line across the river with the capacity to carry two and be ready for W10 gauge freight. Since the derailed wagons were lifted from the old bridge in July, the existing abutments and piers have been demolished and cofferdams have been installed on the east and west banks to facilitate the safe construction of the box culverts.

Notes to editors

The river will not close during construction. Instead, Network Rail will put in place a pontoon which will act like a swing bridge to allow both the transportation of plant equipment from one side of the river to the other, and let boats pass through. The pontoon will take around 15 minutes to open and close but will stay open when not in use. More details and a navigation restriction notice will be published on the Environment Agency website when the pontoon begins to operate. 'One' services between Liverpool Street and Peterborough will start and terminate at Bury St Edmunds. A bus replacement service will be in operation between Bury St Edmunds and Ely. Passengers for through journeys via Peterborough are advised to use Ipswich to Cambridge services and Central Trains services forward to Peterborough. Journey times will be extended by up to 60 minutes. Ipswich - Cambridge trains are unaffected. We will work closely with the train operator 'One' to keep passengers informed of service changes. Alternatively, passengers should call the National Rail Enquiries Helpline on 08457 48 49 50 or visit for information and help to plan their journeys.

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - South East route
020 3357 7969

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: