The railway line between Barnes Bridge and Kew Bridge will reopen by no later than December 5 as Network Rail engineers carry out repairs to the Grade II listed structure over the River Thames.
The Victorian-era bridge had to be closed on Tuesday, November 22, after planned inspections revealed defects to four of the 86 steel pins, which hold the structural girders in place and support the railway tracks above.
The location of Barnes Bridge, which spans the River Thames, means it hasn't been easy for engineers to access. They will have to use a combination of scaffolding, abseilers and boats to reach underneath the bridge to make the repairs. We've also had to work closely with the Port of London Authority to minimise the impact to boat traffic on the Thames.
Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex route director, said: "I'm really sorry for the disruption this closure is causing to our customers. I'd like to reassure everyone that we're working incredibly hard to get the railway open as quickly as possible.
"Because the bridge spans the River Thames, it's incredibly difficult to access the underside of the bridge. Before we can even begin the repairs, we need to install scaffolding and rigging and the replacement pins need to be made to order specifically for this bridge.
"It's a very complex engineering job and until we start installing the new pins there are still some unknowns. We expect to reopen the railway by no later than December 5, however we're looking at every opportunity possible to bring the reopening date forward
"I'd like to thank everyone, including local residents, for their patience while we carry out this vital work."
Peter Williams, SWR's customer and commercial director, said: "Due to the closure of Barnes Bridge, SWR trains will be unable to serve Barnes Bridge and Chiswick stations and these stations will be closed until repairs are completed. We’re pleased the railway will be open by no later than December 5 and we look forward to resuming service to these stations.
"We have amended some services in the area to provide an hourly service between Waterloo to Kew Bridge via Hounslow. We are very sorry for the delay that this will cause to journeys."
For onward travel to Barnes Bridge and Chiswick stations, tickets will be accepted on:
- Transport for London buses between Feltham and Barnes via Hounslow.
- London Underground via any reasonable route
- London Overground between Richmond and Kew Gardens.
Train timings will be available in journey planners as soon as possible and more information can be found at: www.southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey