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Kent rail delays expected this weekend between London and Thanet as ageing railway bridges in Birchington replaced

Beachgoers are being warned to plan ahead this weekend as work to replace two ageing railway bridges means no trains are running along a busy route.

Network Rail engineers will be installing the new structures in Thanet which is expected to cause delays for passengers.

The Minnis Road bridge in Birchington
The Minnis Road bridge in Birchington

The Minnis Road and Creek River bridges, near Birchington-on-Sea, have reached the end of their working lives and speed restrictions have been placed on them because of safety concerns.

To avoid delaying trains any further, both bridges are being replaced by new structures.

They will be craned into place overnight on Saturday and track laid on Sunday.

The work means there will be no trains between Herne Bay and Margate on Saturday, and Herne Bay and Ramsgate on Sunday.

Trains on the London-Thanet route via Canterbury West will run with more carriages to carry more beachgoers.

The Creek River bridge near Birchington
The Creek River bridge near Birchington

Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s route director for Kent, said: "These two bridges have reached the end of their useful lives and their replacement will provide passengers with smoother and more reliable journeys.

"There is never a good time to close the railway so we are doing everything we can to replace both bridges over a single weekend, minimising disruption for road and rail users."

The removal and installation of the bridges will be carried out using two large road mobile cranes, capable of lifting 750 and 600 tonnes respectively.

After the bridge decks have been lifted into place, the railway will be rebuilt on top, the speed restrictions in the area will be lifted, and passengers will enjoy smoother and more reliable journeys.

Scott Brightwell, train services director at Southeastern, said: “We support these works taking place which will allow line speeds in the area to be restored back to their maximum allowing us to offer a better service to our passengers.

“Rail replacement services will be in place and passengers affected will only face minimal delays in getting to their destinations."

Pedestrian access to cross under the railway at Minnis Road will be closed during the weekend and a Covid-secure mini-bus service will be provided between both sides of the bridge.

Passengers planning to travel during this time are urged to check their journeys by clicking here.

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