Barnes Railway Bridge to close for six days this summer

Image: Barnes Railway Bridge; photograph Anna Kunst

Closure will take place from 28 July to 2 August

Barnes Bridge will be closed for an extended period in summer, Network Rail has announced.

The bridge will undergo significant maintenance work from Sunday 28 July to Friday 2 August, disrupting rail services on the Hounslow Loop line. Engineers will be focused on replacing all 48 solid wooden blocks supporting the track across the Grade II listed structure.

These blocks, known as wheel timbers, will be upgraded to a more sustainable, weather-resistant material, to give the bridge a new lease of life.

In addition to replacing the wheel timbers, the project includes the installation of new baseplates to enhance track connectivity to sleepers, and the realignment of tracks approaching and leaving the bridge.

Engineers will also renew approximately 1.4km of conductor rail, responsible for powering trains, between South Acton and Brentford, carry out track maintenance between Isleworth and Hounslow, and electrified rail work between Kew Bridge and Chiswick.

As a consequence of these essential works, South Western Railway services between Barnes and Feltham will be temporarily replaced by buses. The service alterations are scheduled as follows:

  • Sunday 28 July: Buses will substitute trains between Barnes and Feltham via Hounslow.
  • Monday 29 July to Friday 2 August: Buses will replace trains between Barnes and Kew Bridge only, with train services operating between Kew Bridge and Feltham.

Image: Barnes Railway Bridge; photograph Joanna Raikes

The deteriorating conditions of the existing wheel timber have necessitated the extensive renovations, as they were deemed unfit for purpose due to their age. By transitioning to lighter and more durable materials, the railway network aims to significantly reduce maintenance requirements and associated carbon emissions over its 50-year lifespan.

Network Rail said the upgraded conductor rail infrastructure promises enhanced reliability for passengers, minimising disruptions and ensuring smoother journeys.

It is unclear whether the pedestrian footbridge and the Barnes Bridge Walkway will also be closing. We have approached Network Rail for comment.

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