Peel Ports have been advised by Network Rail that Kingsferry Bridge has an issue (unknown) and cannot lift. The operator has said that engineers are on site but at present have no timescale for rectification.
Network Rail have now restored mains power to the Kingsferry Bridge and lifting operations have returned to normal with no restrictions to leisure craft.
If you are in Sittingbourne on Wednesday evening 15 July, Raybel Charters invite you to witness history being made. Back in January, sailing ship Gallant left Trinidad on a voyage to collect sail cargo goods from Colombia and Portugal. Last Saturday she docked into St Katharine Dock in London and on Wednesday she will transfer goods onto the sailing barge Dawn at Queenborough. Dawn will be delivering to several Kent ports and on Wednesday night at about 8.45pm will be sending her barge boat (the big rowing boat that barges use) with a delivery to Lloyd Wharf at the head of Milton Creek. This will be the first cargo delivered by sail to Sittingbourne in perhaps 80 years.
Please join Raybel Charters on the wharf to welcome the first of what we hope will be regular event in Sittingbourne. Please note, we will be maintaining social distancing on the wharf and would ask you to do the same. The new Dolphin Sailing Barge Museum will be open in case of inclement weather.
Peel Ports have advised that, due to movement and deterioration, the steel framed remains of the vessel “Revenge” that was abandoned in Faversham Creek will be partially removed. The vessel “Liftmoor” will be on site from Monday 1st June 2020 and will be working for approximately 5 days to remove the bow section and parts of the superstructure that are causing a hazard to navigation. The operation will involve cutting/grinding of the steelwork and due to the nature of this “hotwork” passing craft are requested to navigate with caution. “Liftmoor” will maintain a listening watch on VHF Channel 74 at all times.
The bridge continues to be non-operational for leisure traffic due to the failure of Network Rail to replace the ancient motors. A temporary generator is only being used to lift for commercial traffic. Network Rail have told the MSBA that Kingsferry Bridge may not be fully operational until 25 April or potentially the middle of May.
Please advise Peter Norris (email@example.com), of any rallies or events that are scheduled to take place between now and the end of May, which require passage through Kingsferry bridge, as he is working with Network Rail to find a solution so that the bridge can be navigated at weekends and Bank Holidays.
Network Rail have told us that, while work is being carried out to reinstate the power at Kingsferry Bridge, the bridge can only be lifted when there is a fitter on site, which is usually from 6am to 6pm Monday to Friday. Outside these hours, leisure craft will only be allowed through with commercial vessels. Because of the compromised state of the equipment at the bridge, the risk of failure is higher than normal. Failure would result in the closure of the bridge to trains, road vehicles and prevent it being lifted. If a fitter is on site, it can be reinstated quicker than if an on-call fitter must be called in.
Effectively then, Kingsferry Bridge will be out of action for the next three weekends and only available from 06:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday.
Following a recent report of the bridge operator refusing to lift for a yacht returning from Conyer to the Medway, the MSBA has sought clarification from Peel Ports. The bridge still has a problem with the main switch gear requiring a generator to be stationed on the A249 to enable lifts. Railtrack say they are “working hard” to source new parts to fix it, which is proving difficult. They have reduced the number of lifts to a minimum and are only allowing yachts through when there are shipping movements. We are told that commercial shipping takes priority.
UPDATE 6.2.2020: Network Rail expect to have the replacement switch gear in place within six weeks, possibly even sooner, so the emergency generator will no longer be needed. In the meantime boaters should check with the bridge operator on VHF channel 10, or Medway VTS on Channel 74, when the next bridge lift is expected to take place.
Derek Meadows has sent us this photo of what remains of the notorious “pirate ship” Revenge, which mysteriously burnt after coming adrift in Faversham Creek. The steel structure is only held on by the stern. Derek fears that the wreck may topple and block the narrow navigable channel. He has contacted Peel Ports with his concerns but not yet had a reply.
Queenborough Harbour Trust has a vacancy for a Level 2 Marina & Boat Operative Apprenticeship. Applicants need to be 18-21 years old, courteous with good Maths and English GCSEs.
This is an exciting opportunity to acquire the necessary experience and recognised qualifications for a career afloat with an emphasis upon the maritime leisure industry. The job entails water services for harbour operations, on the job learning and off site training courses, variable shift to cover harbour operations from 0900 to 2200 hrs during peak season and 0900 to 1800 hrs out of season, 9 hours per day. At peak times there may be additional periods to cover for leave and sickness as required. For more information download the job description below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Beach lifeguards are paid even while they train. There are some fitness requirements. Contact Lucy_Macgowan@rnli.org.uk for more information.