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Swing bridge renewals

We’re renewing the electrical and mechanical systems of the three swing bridges at Reedham, Somerleyton and Oulton Broad.

Each swing bridge carries the Wherry line over a waterway which connects Lowestoft and Norwich. As the headroom is very low, the bridges can swing open to allow river traffic to safely pass.

Why are we renewing the swing bridge systems? 

The internal components of the three swing bridges haven’t been replaced in over 100 years and need frequent and costly maintenance. Starting autumn this year, Network Rail’s engineers will be upgrading the internal components which includes replacing for each bridge:  

  • the winch systems,  
  • hydraulic jacks and pipework,  
  • lighting and; 
  • Installation of new power systems.  

Once we’ve renewed the operating equipment of the bridges, they’ll be able to operate more reliably throughout the year.

The three bridges are an important part of our railway heritage. We’re maintaining as much of the original structures as possible, while renewing integral parts to keep the railway running safely through the area. 

Latest News

Network Rail is planning to close the railway between Reedham and Lowestoft and between Lowestoft and Beccles to allow engineers to complete the upgrade work to the swing mechanisms. The bridges will be closed on the following dates:

  • Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 September 2022
  • Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 October 2022
  • Saturday 22 October to Sunday 6 November 2022 inclusive (16 consecutive days)
  • Sunday 20 November 2022

Greater Anglia will be running a rail replacement bus service so that rail passengers are able to complete their journeys. Details will be available closer to the time of the work taking place on the Greater Anglia website and National Rail Enquiries.

We have been working in coordination with the Broads Authority to plan this work after the busy summer tourist period to minimise disruption. 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 16-day period to allow river access. The Broads Authority will publish agreed access dates and times for boat users in due course via the Broads authority website.

Watch drone footage of Reedham, Somerleyton and Oulton Broad swing bridges

Credit: Plowman Craven

A brief history

Contact us

If you’re interested in finding out more about this project, please contact us by visiting our contact us page or by calling our 24-hour national helpline on 03457 11 41 41. You can also follow us on Twitter @networkrailANG using the hashtag #AngliaSwingBridges

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