Disruption to trains as vital repairs set for East Suffolk Line rail bridge

Buses will replace trains for a weekend next month while river bridge repairs take place on the East Suffolk Line

Buses will replace trains for a weekend next month while river bridge repairs take place on the East Suffolk Line - Credit: PAUL GEATER

Train services on the East Suffolk Line will face disruption next month when vital repairs are carried out to a key bridge over the River Deben.

Network Rail is planning four days of works at the Deben rail bridge just north of Melton, part of the 49-mile east coast route from Ipswich to Lowestoft.

Contractors AmcoGiffen will be carrying out the removal and replacement of "life expired" wheel timber bearers with workers needing to build a temporary floating pontoon and scaffold tower in the river channel in order to gain access to the bridge deck and rail track.

The work to the Deben bridge are taking place not far from Melton train station

The work to the Deben bridge is taking place not far from Melton train station - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The company has had to apply for a licence from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) because of the necessity to work from the river and potential disturbance this could cause to the environment and wildlife.

In a report submitted to East Suffolk Council, the company said the work would include removing  existing timber beams and putting in new ones, installing timber sleepers and repositioning rails.

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The works will take place from March 5 to March 8 and after a period of checking, the pontoon and other structures will be removed by March 29. Rail services will be affected for two days.

A compound for the works will also be set up on an existing area of hard standing near Melton Station.

Melton train station, Suffolk.

Melton train station - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “Due to essential improvement work, a rail replacement bus service will run between Saxmundham and Ipswich all weekend on March 6 and 7.

“Timetables are available on our website and customers should wear a mask while travelling with us, unless they are exempt.

“We would like to thank customers for their patience while this essential work takes place.

“Government advice at the moment is to stay at home and to only travel for essential reasons such as work, medical appointments and other legally permissible reasons. Our Safer Travel pledge highlights everything we are currently doing to help keep customers safe while travelling with us.”

Passengers travelling between Ipswich, Woodbridge, Melton,  Wickham Market and Saxmundham stations will be affected by the work and will be transported by bus to these destinations.

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