Norfolk railway line shut for repairs to swing bridges

A railway line is to shut for 10 days for repairs to two Edwardian swing bridges on the Norfolk Broads.

Somerleyton and Reedham bridges, both built more than 100 years ago, will undergo essential repair work.

The line between Reedham and Lowestoft will be shut from Sunday 22 October to Monday 31 October for work to take place.

Network Rail is investing £500,000 at Somerleyton and £400,000 at Reedham to improve the reliability and signalling.

'Antique infrastructure'

Built in 1905, the bridges frequently get stuck, causing disruption to rail passengers and boats.

Engineers will work around the clock to carry out essential repairs to steel work and to refurbish signalling and equipment.

Russell Spink, from Network Rail, likened the bridges to classic cars being used for the daily commute.

"They're antiques and running a 21st Century railway on antique infrastructure does pose us some problems.

"If you're going to use a classic car as an every day runaround, you're going to have to spend a lot of time with the bonnet up making sure it's in full working order."

Trains will run from Norwich to Reedham but passengers for Lowestoft will be served by a replacement bus. Taxis will serve passengers for Haddiscoe and Somerleyton.

'Running smoothly'

Mr Spink added: "They have been updated over the years and they have a mixture of the old fashioned levers and pulleys to control them and some relatively modern electrical and computer equipment.

"We need to work on all aspects of that, the structure of the bridge, the pivot mechanism on the middle of the bridges that keeps them swinging and on the electrical power and computer systems that make sure we can keep them running smoothly."

The line is scheduled to reopen on Monday 31 October in time for the usual timetable to operate.

Details of the alternative arrangements are available from National Express East Anglia and Network Rail.

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