Passengers can go with the flow following installation of new bridge between Ely and Peterborough: Harts bridge replacement works

Tuesday 29 Aug 2017

Passengers can go with the flow following installation of new bridge between Ely and Peterborough


Passengers on trains travelling between Ely and Peterborough are travelling over a much stronger and reliable railway bridge over the Briggate River in Whittlesey, Peterborough today, following its installation over the August bank holiday weekend.

Network Rail’s orange army replaced the bridge in three days without disrupting river traffic, to improve reliability as part of the company’s Railway Upgrade Plan. During the equivalent of 2,200 hours of work, a team of lookouts were on hand to stop the work for river traffic so there was no impact on those using the river. Scaffolding was also placed around the bridge as an extra safety measure to stop anything from falling below.

The bridge is on the line between Ely and Peterborough and used by up to five passenger trains an hour and twelve freight trains a day. Between Saturday 26 August and Monday 28 August the existing timber decked bridge was replaced with a stronger steel decked bridge. Without the replacement, a speed restriction would need to be imposed to protect the bridge from heavy trains, resulting in delays to both passenger and freight services. The new bridge will also last longer and is less expensive to maintain.

Simon Ancona, Network Rail's chief operating officer for Anglia, said: “Our team of engineers have worked hard over the weekend to keep the river open while installing the new bridge as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. We no longer need to put a speed restriction in place at this point, making services more reliable. I’d like to thank passengers for their patience while we carried out this work.”

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “Engineering works are vital for ourselves and Network Rail to provide a better railway for future generations. This new bridge means we will now be able to run faster trains over Whittlesey bridge.”

As part of the work, the track was replaced and the ballast, the stones that form the track bed, were made deeper to improve drainage to increase reliability.

Contact information

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Network Rail press office - Katie Mack
Media relations manager (Anglia route)
020 3356 2515

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Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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