No trains from Chiswick station

Image above: Trains from Chiswick Station cancelled

Urgent repairs needed to Barnes Railway Bridge

Commuters turned up to Chiswick station this morning to find there were no trains running between Barnes Bridge and Hounslow ‘until further notice.’

Those caught out by the announcement then struggled to get across Chiswick to a tube station, joining hundreds of others on buses stuck in traffic as roadworks continue on the A4.

South Western Railway only made the announcement on Tuesday.

‘The line between Barnes Bridge and Hounslow is closed until further notice due to engineers needing to access the underside of Barnes Bridge to undertake repairs.

‘Engineers carrying out planned inspections using specialist ultrasonic instruments found a small number of defects underneath the 1900s Victorian, Grade II listed structure which they need to repair before the bridge can reopen for passenger services.’

They say they will now have to wait for parts to be specially manufactured to repair the bridge, due to the uniqueness of the Victorian structure.

The closure affects Barnes Bridge, Chiswick, Kew Bridge, Brentford, Syon Lane, Isleworth and Hounslow stations.

Image above: Barnes Railway Bridge

“Sorry for major disruption”

Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex route director, said: “We’re extremely sorry for the major disruption this has caused to train services. The safety of our customers always takes priority.

“Engineers found that four out of the 86 large steel pins that are used to hold in place the structural girders, which support the railway tracks above were slightly damaged. Due to the location of the bridge which spans over the River Thames, this makes gaining access to replace the pins much more complex.

“We’re continuing to work closely with our train operating partners at SWR to produce a revised timetable to serve as many stations in the local area as possible.”

There were no replacement buses organised for passengers on Tuesday, as there usually are when engineering works cause cancellations.

Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford & Isleworth, commented:

“I accept services can’t use the bridge if a safety risk. But comms could be clearer for those dependent on the loop-line service Roughly what time each hour? Will it effectively be a shuttle? And please don’t say “some disruption” When you mean “no service/severe disruption.”

South Western Railway say: ‘Train timings will be available in journey planners as soon as possible.’

“Not worth trying to get into work”

Stranded passengers waiting for an E3 bus told The Chiswick Calendar they were considering their options.

Charles Parchment, a diplomat, told us he was just texting colleagues as he had a series of meetings and would have to get other people to stand in for him. As we talked a bus arrived and he got on it, but the work is expected to take weeks.

“It doesn’t make sense for me to try and get into work as it takes too long. I am thinking about whether I should work from home again.”

Jan Prescot, who had been hoping to get a train to Waterloo to meet a friend, told us:

“I’m supposed to be there for 10.30. Now I have to wait for a bus to get to Turnham Green tube station and I won’t be there until at least 11. Coming home it will be in the rush hour and there will be all the traffic [caused by the roadworks] from the A4.”

Image above: Damian Wojnarowski, Short & Tall Coffee

Short & Tall coffee left without customers

The coffee cart, Short & Tall Coffee, run by Damian Wojnarowski, lost 70% its regular business on Tuesday morning. Most of their customers are people using the station.

“A lot of people didn’t know about it and they bought a coffee before they left” he told us “but tomorrow it will be worse.”

During the pandemic when very few people were using the trains he was supported by residents in the surrounding streets, who kept the business afloat, so he is hoping they will come and buy their coffee from him over the next few weeks as they did then.

“The Chiswick community is the best community in the world, they are so supportive.”

Even though he is facing a huge drop in earnings he remains philosophical.

“I come from Poland. There is a war on our border and children are dying, so I am not going to worry about this.”

Train tickets valid on other services

Peter Williams, South Western Railway’s customer and commercial director, said:

“We are amending some services in the area to provide an hourly service between Waterloo to Kew Bridge via Hounslow. We are very sorry for the delay that this will cause to journeys’’.

For onward travel to Barnes Bridge and Chiswick stations, tickets will be accepted on:

  • Transport for London buses between Feltham and Barnes via Hounslow.
  • London Underground via any reasonable route
  • London Overground between Richmond and Kew Gardens.

The closure will also have an impact on river users, as Network Rail needs access to the underside of the bridge.

A spokesperson for 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. SWR is also operating an hourly service from Waterloo to Kew Bridge via Hounslow which serves Isleworth, Syon Lane and Brentford. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to run this service to Chiswick as we can’t turn trains there.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Bird poo stops bridge opening

See also: Strikes in November and December: mail, rail, tube and bus services face disruption

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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