South East London and North Kent passengers urged to plan ahead of improvement works over the May Bank Holidays: Bridge over River Stour

Monday 19 Apr 2021

South East London and North Kent passengers urged to plan ahead of improvement works over the May Bank Holidays

Region & Route:
Southern: Kent

Network Rail is advising those planning to travel by train over the May Bank Holidays to plan ahead as it prepares to carry out several refurbishment and upgrade projects across Kent and South East London to improve the railway for passengers.

Among the projects engineers will be tackling over the holidays are Lewisham’s Parks Bridge junction, strengthening earthworks between Ashford and Hastings, putting a new bridge in place over the River Stour near Canterbury, preparing the track for the new Thanet Parkway station and working on the line between Strood and Paddock Wood.

People should continue to follow Government guidance around the use of public transport and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible.

With non-essential retail and hospitality businesses having opened from 12 April, and some overnight stays requiring long-distance travel permitted, the rail industry has been working together to ensure people can travel with confidence – for example by closely monitoring passenger numbers and adding services to create more space and support social distancing. Improved cleaning regimes in stations and on trains have also been in place throughout the pandemic

Network Rail Kent route director Fiona Taylor said: “We’re pleased to see passengers gradually returning to our railway and our work to maintain and improve it for them continues non-stop.

“We know that people will be wanting to travel around Kent this May now the country is slowly unlocking and that’s why we’re advertising these works as much as we can, so people can plan ahead. Please do check before you travel and remember your hands, face space.”

Over the early May Bank Holiday there will be replacement bus service between Lewisham and Orpington. On Sunday 2 May there will also be a replacement bus between Lewisham and Dartford, between Ashford and Dover via Folkestone West and between Rochester and Rainham. People who want to travel to the east Kent coast from London on Sunday 2 May can take the direct Highspeed service from St Pancras via Ashford and Canterbury or for the other routes change onto the replacement bus at Rochester.

During the late May Bank Holiday there will be a replacement bus between Strood and Maidstone West. There will also be a replacement bus between Ashford and Canterbury West from Saturday until Tuesday and on the Sunday and Monday between Canterbury West and Margate. On Sunday 30 May there is a replacement bus on the Woolwich line from Lewisham to Plumstead. Please check journey planners before you travel.

Scott Brightwell, Train Services Director at Southeastern, said: “We are expecting more people to use our trains in May and we are doing all we can to make sure they travel with confidence. There are some important improvement projects taking place over the bank holidays, as well as the start of preparations for the new station at Thanet Parkway. We are providing replacement buses, which shouldn’t add too much time onto your journey. As always please check journey planners for the latest information.”

Chris Fowler, Customer Services Director for Southern, said: “This vital work by Network Rail over the bank holidays will only affect relatively limited areas on Southern and Thameslink routes, but please check before you travel, and remember to follow the safety advice.”

The bank holiday weekend – 1- 3 May – will see the focus on Lewisham and Petts Wood re-signalling and track renewals, earthworks between Ashford to Hastings and Folkestone / Dover Priory as well as testing new signalling at Gillingham. Also taking place is the removal of the old footbridge at Chatham as part of the Access for All scheme which will see an accessible footbridge installed in its place.

And during the late May Bank Holiday -29-31 May- work will be taking place to put a new bridge in place over the Stour at Chartham, between Ashford and Canterbury West, and carrying out works between Ramsgate and Minster, through to Tuesday 1 June to prepare for the construction of the new Thanet Parkway station. Also taking place will be signalling works between Blackheath to Plumstead and works between Strood to Paddock Wood.

Although bus replacement services will be in place, passengers likely to be using these routes during the May bank holidays are advised to check their plans and make adjustments for the extra time these road journeys may take.

Passengers should also follow the latest Coronavirus guidance and make space, wash hands and wear a mask.

Notes to Editors

  1. A more detailed list of the works and the dates they are taking place is below for reference:

Early May Bank Holiday

  • Parks Bridge Jcn/Lewisham Sidcup - Petts Wood Jcn (resignalling and track renewals)

     Sat 1 – Mon 3 May (3 days)

  • Ashford to Hastings (earthworks)

     Sat 1 – Mon 3 May (3 days)

  • Ashford to Folkestone / Dover Priory

     Sun 2 – Mon 3 May (2 days)

  • Gillingham (signalling trials)
  • Chatham AfA scheme (footbridge demolition)
  • Hither Green to Chislehurst (resignalling)

     Sunday 2 May (1 day)

Late May Bank Holiday

  • Ashford to Canterbury West (River Stour bridge reinstall)

     Sat 29 – Tues 1 June (4 days)

  • Ramsgate to Minster (new Thanet Parkway station)

     Sun 30 to Mon 31 May (2 days)

  • Blackheath to Plumstead (S&C work Charlton Junction)

     Sun 30 to Mon 31 May (2 days)

  • Strood to Paddock Wood

     Sat 29 – Mon 31 May (3 days)

2. Picture shows the Stour Bridge due for replacement.

Contact information

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

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Scott Wilson
Media Manager
Network Rail
07395 389658

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