Update: swing bridge work in East Anglia to take place this autumn: Oulton Broad Swing Bridge

Wednesday 21 Sep 2022

Update: swing bridge work in East Anglia to take place this autumn

Region & Route:
Eastern: Anglia

Network Rail will start work to upgrade electrical and mechanical systems inside three swing bridges this autumn, including for nine consecutive days in late October.

The iconic bridges at Reedham, Somerleyton and Oulton Broad are designed to carry trains over waterways and swing open to let boats through, but they are over 100 years old and their internal parts have become unreliable. During the project, Network Rail’s engineers will replace these parts, making the bridges less likely to develop faults and reducing the need for costly maintenance.

The upgrade will help Greater Anglia train passengers and boat users get to their destinations on time for years to come, while enabling the historic structures to keep being used in the modern day.

To allow the work to be carried out, there will be times when sections of the Wherry and East Suffolk Lines need to be closed.

Buses will replace trains between Norwich and Lowestoft on the following weekends:

  • Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 September
  • Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 October

Later in October, there will be bus replacement between Norwich and Lowestoft on nine consecutive days:

  • Saturday 22 October to Sunday 30 October

This has been reduced from the previous planned sixteen consecutive days.

On Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 October, buses will also replace trains between Halesworth and Lowestoft.

Further work on the swing bridges will take place in spring 2023, with the dates of closures to be advised.

Watch the video to find out more about the project:


Advice for passengers

Greater Anglia will be running a replacement bus service so that rail passengers are able to complete their journeys. Full details will be available on www.greateranglia.co.uk and www.nationalrailenquiries.co.uk

On Saturday 8, Sunday 9, Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 October, due to other engineering work, buses will additionally replace trains between Norwich – Great Yarmouth / Sheringham.

Please check before you travel.

Advice for boat users

River access for vessels will be limited while the work takes place but there will be short windows of opportunity to open the bridges during the closures. These are being communicated by the Broads Authority directly to boat users.

Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “These bridges are an important part of our railway heritage and also critical pieces of infrastructure that keep both rail and boat traffic moving. Renewing the components will reduce the risk of mechanical problems and help keep services running safely, smoothly and reliably for our passengers, as well as maintaining access to the ports and marinas.”

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “This work will make our Norwich and Ipswich to Lowestoft lines even more reliable, which I know our customers will welcome. While the work is going on we will make sure customers can still complete their journeys with a rail replacement bus service.”

Rob Rogers, Broads Authority Director of Operations, said: “This much-needed investment by Network Rail into the Broads’ swing bridges is very much welcomed by the Broads Authority and our boating communities.

“It has been a challenging few years for our river users regarding the bridges and we are delighted to hear that work is progressing to allow them to reliably open for river traffic.

“We urge the boating community to note the periods of closure above and to check our website as the works progress for any navigation updates.”

You can follow us on Twitter for the latest news in the Anglia region @NetworkRailAng using the hashtag #AngliaSwingBridges

Notes to Editors

The Lowestoft to Norwich Wherry line is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year – having opened to goods on 3 May 1847 and passengers on 1 July 1847.

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 - Katie Mack
Media relations manager (Anglia route)
0330 8577 132

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: www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk