Barnes Railway Bridge rail disruption to continue “no later than 5 December”

Image above: Network Rail engineers work to fix Barnes Railway Bridge; photograph Kristi Tange 

South Western Railway say services should be back to normal next Monday

The railway line between Barnes Bridge and Kew Bridge will reopen by “no later than 5 December”, say South Western Railway as Network Rail engineers carry out repairs to the Grade II listed Barnes Railway Bridge.

South Western Railway closed the Victorian bridge last Tuesday (22 November) after regular inspections revealed defects to four of the 86 steel pins, which hold the structural girders in place and support the railway tracks above. Since then, no trains have been running between Barnes Bridge and Hounslow.

SWR said last week they needed to wait for parts to be specially manufactured to repair the bridge, due to the uniqueness of the Victorian structure.

The location of Barnes Bridge, which spans the River Thames, means it has not been easy for engineers to access. They are using a combination of scaffolding, abseilers and boats to reach underneath the bridge to make the repairs. SWR are also working closely with the Port of London Authority to minimise the impact to boat traffic on the Thames.

This means trains are currently still unable to run between Feltham and Barnes. As a result SWR are amending some services to provide an hourly service between Waterloo and Kew Bridge via Hounslow.

Image above: Network Rail engineers work to fix Barnes Railway Bridge; photograph Kristi Tange 

Which trains and buses are still running?

Until further notice Hounslow Loop services (anti-clockwise) from London Waterloo via Hounslow and Twickenham are cancelled. Hounslow Loop services (clockwise) from London Waterloo are terminating at Hounslow.

London Waterloo to Weybridge hourly services at 52 minutes past the hour will run as scheduled to Barnes and will then call at Twickenham, Whitton, Hounslow, Syon Lane, Brentford and Kew Bridge, where they will terminate.

For onward travel to Barnes Bridge and Chiswick stations, tickets will be accepted on TfL buses between Feltham and Barnes via Hounslow; London Underground via any reasonable route and London Overground between Richmond and Kew Gardens.

To travel to Waterloo Station via Richmond, commuters who usually use Chiswick Station can get the 190 bus at bus stop Y on Staveley Road to Richmond Station, where trains to Waterloo are scheduled to arrive within every ten minutes. Depending on traffic, this alternative route takes up to 70 minutes starting from Chiswick Station.

SWR told The Chiswick Calendar there are no replacement buses operating as there is ticket acceptance by TFL on local buses and Underground/Overground services. They said it was not possible for any replacement trains to service Chiswick, as infrastructure required to turn trains around does not exist there.

Additional services will run from Hounslow to London Waterloo at every hour at 10 and 40 minutes past the hour, calling at Twickenham only. London Waterloo to Weybridge hourly services at 22 minutes past the hour will be diverted via Twickenham, calling additionally at Richmond and Twickenham. Weybridge to London Waterloo hourly services at three minutes past the hour will be diverted via Twickenham.

Image above: Network Rail engineers work to fix Barnes Bridge; photograph Kristi Tange 

Network Rail “working incredibly hard” to reopen railway

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:

“We’re pleased the railway will be open by no later than December 5 and we look forward to resuming service to these stations.

Network Rail engineers work to fix Barnes Railway Bridge; photograph Kristi Tange 

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