Passengers and motorists reminded to plan ahead as £2.7 million new railway bridge in Portsmouth to be installed next week

  • Life-expired Burnaby Road railway bridge in Portsmouth to be replaced between Monday 12 February and Friday 16 February 2018.
  • Rail replacement buses in operation between Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth and Southsea, with diversion routes for motorists and pedestrians
  • More than 50 Network Rail engineers and track staff will work around the clock to install
  • New crossing, made from British steel, to replace the old bridge over the half-term break

Rail passengers and motorists have been reminded to plan ahead when travelling next week as Network Rail replaces a 142-year-old railway bridge in Portsmouth in a multi-million pound investment to improve reliability of the railway for passengers.

Work to replace the Burnaby Road bridge will take place from Monday 12 February until Friday 16 February 2018 during half-term, when there are fewer rail passengers travelling and fewer cars on the road at peak times.

To complete the work safely, the railway line between Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth & Southsea will be closed from 1.15am on Monday 12 February and will re-open at 6am on Saturday 17 February. A limited train service will be in place from 8pm to end of service on Sunday 11 February. 

Rail replacement bus services will be in operation from 6am until 11.20pm during the closures, and Portsmouth Harbour station will remain open for pedestrians travelling to and from the ferry port.

Burnaby Road and Park Road, which are adjacent to the work site, will be closed to allow access for heavy machinery and equipment. Sign-posted diversion routes for road vehicles and pedestrians, as agreed with Portsmouth City Council, will be in operation during the closure.

Stuart Kistruck, director of route asset management for Network Rail’s Wessex route, said:

“I’d like to thank passengers and motorists in advance for bearing with us as we undertake this vital work to improve reliability of the railway through Portsmouth, as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.

“This crossing is a really important part of our network, with more than 113,000 trains passing over it every year carrying 4 million passengers. This investment will ensure that we are able to provide a reliable service for our passengers for the future.

“We appreciate that the work will be disruptive and are working closely with our colleagues at South Western Railway to ensure that passengers are still able to get to their destinations throughout this time.

“I strongly advise anyone travelling through the city by road or rail while this work is taking place to plan their journeys in advance. Rail passengers can check their journeys at or National Rail Enquiries.”

Alan Penlington, customer experience director for South Western Railway, said:

“We’re sorry for the inconvenience this will cause while Portsmouth Harbour station is closed for Network Rail to carry out these vital works. Modernising the bridge and tracks will mean we can reliably run our services in this key area of the railway for many more years to come, which will ultimately benefit passenger journeys.

“During the works, buses will replace all trains between Portsmouth and Southsea / Portsmouth Harbour. Those travelling to the Isle of Wight will also need to allow extra time for their connections.

“We’re doing all we can to minimise disruption and make sure we get all our customers to their destination during this time but strongly advise they plan ahead and check our website before they travel.”

Load restrictions are already in place on the bridge to protect the structure, limiting freight train use, and passenger services would also need to be restricted in the future if this work was not carried out.

Network Rail’s ‘team orange’ will be working around the clock for five days to replace Burnaby Road bridge and complete associated track works. The new 88-tonne structure is being made in Lanarkshire using only British steel. 

The original aesthetic of the existing bridge will be reflected in the new structure, with the Portsmouth crests painted in cream and the bridge itself painted in night blue.

The £2.7 million investment forms part of the national Railway Upgrade Plan and is crucial to bring the crossing up to modern standards.