Network Rail bridge engineers plan major New Year project to keep Pompey well supported into 2021

Network Rail engineers are turning their attentions to the Portsmouth area in a busy January 2021 as one of the city’s most prominent Victorian railway structures gets some vital engineering attention.

The 1876-built Landport Viaduct, which supports two platforms at Portsmouth and Southsea station on the line to the harbour, needs a week’s worth of strengthening, without trains running over it. In addition, a separate project will see new track laid and a bridge rebuilt near Cosham.

All this means some important dates and changes for passengers to have in their diaries:

  • Between Friday 1 and Sunday 3 January, plus Sunday 17 January, the line from Fareham to Portsmouth Harbour will be closed for the Cosham project
  • For one week, Between Monday 18 and Sunday 24 January, the line from Portsmouth & Southsea to Portsmouth Harbour will close, with the closure extended Cosham and Bedhampton on Sunday 24, for Landport Viaduct strengthening.

Passengers who travel on SWR, GWR and Southern services to and from Portsmouth stations are advised to plan ahead. Trains will start and finish their journeys earlier, some will call at additional stations or be diverted, while others will be replaced by buses.

Mark Killick, Network Rail Wessex route director, said: “We know any planned changes to train services can be disruptive to passengers, but both projects will provide a more reliable railway in Portsmouth. By doing this work all together, and especially the seven-day closure, we will save many more weekends of potential disruption.

We’re proud to be the custodians of some very old Victorian structures, and one of the challenges we face is running a frequent and busy train service over the top of them, while keeping them in top condition.

“We really appreciate our passengers’ patience while we do the work we need to keep them safe, and ask that they plan ahead and check the latest travel advice before beginning their journeys.”

Alan Penlington, SWR’s customer experience director, said: “Whilst there’s never a good time to close the railway, both bridge maintenance projects are essential for improving reliability and performance along this this important stretch of railway.

“I realise these works will mean disruption for our customers; however, replacement buses will be in operation for both closures, and the longer closure will allow engineers the necessary time to strengthen Landport viaduct for years to come. I’d like to thank customers for their patience.”

Landport viaduct is supported by 17 spans with seven being strengthened during January’s line closure. The remaining 10 will be strengthened at a later date. This essential work will protect the train service for years to come.

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