Friday 21 Feb 2003


South East
Due to the unique and complex structure of the Trowse swingbridge, Network Rail has been working on a new solution, involving the upgrade of insulator cables, to solve the recent overhead line complications.  We have experienced some initial teething problems during this maintenance work, which resulted in Wednesday’s delays. Network Rail endeavours to rectify this problem and will continue to work to improve services.  We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the delays.   Trowse swingbridge – a brief history Trowse swingbridge is a unique and intricate piece of engineering.  It is part of the main rail artery into Norwich and has around 150 trains passing over it every weekday at a speed of 40mph.  Originally built in 1845, Trowse was the first swingbridge in East Anglia and was built by local engineer George Parker Bidder.  The bridge was rebuilt in 1906 and 1986.  It weighs around 350 tonnes and works on a system of computer controlled jacks and hydraulic pumps that raise the structure and rotate it to allow river traffic to pass through.  It is locked back into place to rejoin the track.  The bridge, even though it rotates, still has overhead lines which have to disconnect and reconnect every time the bridge opens.  The overhead lines which carry 25,000 volts must join exactly in the right place to allow the current to run through. 

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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:

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