No trains for five days from King’s Lynn, Watlington, Downham market and Littleport - but bridge repairs will cut delays

Great Catch Bridge, at Ely. Picture: Network Rail

Great Catch Bridge, at Ely. Picture: Network Rail - Credit: Archant

Strenghtening a bridge will help ease delays on train services between King's Lynn and Ely.

Network Rail plans to begin work on the six–span Great Catch Bridge, which crosses a land drain between Ely and Littleport, next month.

Over a five day period, engineers will carry out a £1m package of work to strengthen the bridge by installing 24 steel plates and a coat of paint that will prevent corrosion.

The bridge carries up to 76 passenger and freight trains a day at speeds of up to 60mph and should the work not be carried out, trains would have to run at a reduced speed over the bridge which causes delays and cancellations.

It comes after figures from a passenger watchdog showed some services were delayed on 90pc of journeys last year.

MORE - figures reveal shocking state of our railwaysThe work will take place between February 12 - 16. During this time there will be no train services between Ely and Kings Lynn. A rail replacement bus service will be in place for five days from King's Lynn, Watlington, Downham Market and Littleport. Journey times will be up to 90 minutes longer.

Network Rail says the work has been planned to take place during the half term week when fewer people travel and the five day closure allows the work to be done quickly with less disruption for passengers. If the work is carried out over a series of weekends, it would take over six months to complete.

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Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail's route managing director for Anglia, said: 'These improvements are a vital aspect of our railway upgrade plan to provide a safe, reliable and efficient railway for passengers in the north of the region. I understand the inconvenience of the closure and I'd like to thank passengers for their patience while we carry out this essential work.'

Great Northern passenger services director, Stuart Cheshire, said: 'This work by Network Rail is absolutely essential to help modernise the railway for our passengers. We have planned a comprehensive rail replacement bus service but journeys will take longer so we ask passengers to look at the revised timetable online and plan ahead.'

Direct services between Ely, Cambridge North and London King's Cross will be reduced to one per hour. There will be no direct service between Waterbeach and London.

For further information and to plan your journey, click here.

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