Published: 06:00, 20 May 2019
| Updated: 14:19, 20 May 2019
A £4.3 million upgrade to make Sandwich Railway Station more accessible for The Open 2020 will begin in November.
Network Rail has confirmed the start date of the platform extension improvements which which will take about five months to complete.
The works will enhance capacity at the station ahead of the 149th championship hosted by Royal St George’s Golf Club.
The major sporting event, running from Friday, July 12 to Friday, July 19, attracts tens of thousands of spectators, many of whom travel via train.
A spokesman said: “Network Rail will be extending both platforms at the Dover end of Sandwich Station by 80 metres, so they can fully accommodate 12-carriage trains.
“This means the 12-carriage trains will not straddle the level crossing and cause disruption to local traffic.
“A new stepped footbridge will be installed to a link the extended platforms, along with a new walkway from the extended platform 1, to the start of the field which links Sandwich Station to Royal St George’s Golf Club.”
The station will remain in operation throughout the work, which is not expected to affect passengers from Sir Roger Manwoods and Sandwich Technology School.
Other planned work includes a new entrance on platform 1 to speed up the time it takes to reach the golf course.
It leads to two weekend closures to avoid disruption for weekday commuters.
The spokesman said: “Network Rail will need to close the railway to carry out this work which is estimated to take around 120 hours.
“Therefore, it is most likely that the work will be carried out over two full weekend closures.
“Replacement buses will be required and we will work with Southeastern to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.”
Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Thanet and Shepway councils has agreed to make a joint contribution of £100,000 towards the cost of the work.
Kent County Council will contribute £1.375 million, of which £1.025 million will come from projected grant underspends for railway improvement works at Ashford.
The Department for Transport has indicated it will pay £1.504 million towards the works.
And the R&A said it will pay £1.418 million.
South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) will contribute more than £1.9m to the upgrade.
More information about The Open’s return to Kent will be available for residents at a drop-in session at Sandwich Guildhall from 11am to 8pm on Thursday, May 30.
Representatives from the organisers, The R&A, and the host club will be joined by Dover District Council, Kent County Council, Network Rail, Sandwich Town Council, and Southeastern, with staff on hand to discuss the plans and answer questions.
Nadeem Aziz, chief executive of DDC, said: “The 149th Open once again puts Sandwich on the map to a global audience.
“The detailed event planning is now underway and we’re grateful to all our partner organisations for agreeing to share the latest plans at the drop-in session.
“We’ll be keeping the local community updated regularly in the build up to the Championship, helping ensure that they can go about their business with as little disruption as possible, as well as making the most of any opportunities that come with hosting such a high profile event in the town.”
Local residents and businesses can register now to receive e-mail updates about the preparations for The 149th Open at www.dover.gov.uk/TheOpenMore information about The Open’s return to Kent is available at a drop-in session at Sandwich Guildhall from 11am to 8pm on Thursday, May 30.
On hand will be representatives from The R&A, and the host club will be joined by DDC, KCC, Network Rail, Sandwich Town Council, and Southeastern.