Thursday 9 Aug 2007


Region & Route:
Eastern: Anglia
| Eastern
The River Ouse at Ely, Cambridgeshire is due to reopen for navigation on the afternoon of Friday 10 August. It has been closed since a freight train derailed on a bridge spanning the river on 22 June 2007. Since then, Network Rail has worked to remove the 11 derailed wagons and the damaged bridge. It has liaised closely with the Environment Agency to dredge the river to clear it of the aggregate which fell from the train wagons. Divers have been employed to check it is safe for river users. A new bridge which will have to be constructed is in design stage. The river will not close when construction of the bridge starts. 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. Network Rail Anglia Route Director Patrick Hallgate said: "We're very happy that after several weeks of incredibly hard work by all involved that we're able to reopen the river. We thank local businesses for their patience and understanding whilst we deal with this difficult and complex incident. "We're now focused on finalising the design of the new bridge and its construction. This is likely to take a number of months. We'll have a more definitive timeframe once the design is complete. We appreciate and share rail passengers' frustration about this and are working to get the railway open as soon as we can. We promise to keep all those involved informed of the progress of the recovery." Nathan Arnold, Great Ouse Team leader with the Environment Agency said: "We are delighted with the swift progress that has been made, and especially pleased that the river is open to navigation again. We will continue to work with Network Rail to ensure that the building of the new bridge will cause as little disruption as possible to boaters and other river users."

Notes to editors

Owing to the marshy fenland location and the extensive damage to the bridge, Network Rail built a 1.3km temporary road from the A142 to get around 20,000 tonnes of materials to build a crane platform to lift the derailed wagons from the track. '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

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