Trains between Sheerness and Sittingbourne were delayed or cancelled yesterday from 11 am to 6pm after a yachtsman thought he saw a mortar shell in the water. The yacht then hit the bridge before running aground but floated off later and went on its way.
Peel Ports advise that television filming work is due to take place on and around the Kingsferry Bridge over the weekend of 24/25 October 2020. The filming will require navigational restrictions to be imposed on the river adjacent to and either side of the bridge for two specified periods. Whilst work is underway an exclusion zone will be established and policed by three GPS Marine vessels who will prevent any craft from entering the area. The GPS Vincia and crane barge RODMA will be stationed north of the bridge and the Felucca will be south side, both vessels will be assisted by a GPS Marine RIB, all craft will maintain a listening watch on VHF channel 74.
Network Rail will also be conducting engineering work on the bridge from 00:01 to 12:00 on Sunday 25th October.
Restrictions will be as follows:
24.10.2020 – 12:00 to 23:59 – No leisure craft access or transit through KFB, essential commercial vessel transits may be considered.
25.10.2020 – 00:01 to 23:59 – No leisure craft access or transit through KFB, essential commercial vessel transits may be considered.
Peel Ports have been advised by Network Rail that Kingsferry Bridge has an issue (power failure) and cannot lift. The operator has said that engineers are on site but at present have no timescale for rectification.
UPDATE 18.9.2020 Bridge now working again.
Network Rail have now restored mains power to the Kingsferry Bridge and lifting operations have returned to normal with no restrictions to leisure craft.
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.
Network Rail have announced that, due to mechanical failure, the Kingsferry Bridge will be inoperative and unable to be lifted until further notice. Efforts to repair the fault will commence on Monday 18th November 2019 but timescales for normal service restoration are unknown.
Network Rail have informed Peel Ports Medway that, due to essential maintenance, the Kingsferry Bridge will be inoperative and unable to be lifted on the following dates and times: 21:00 07/10/19 – 00:30 08/10/19 • 21:00 08/10/19 – 00:30 09/10/19 • 21:00 09/10/19 – 00:30 10/10/19 • 21:00 21/10/19 – 00:30 22/10/19 • 21:00 22/10/19 – 00:30 23/10/19 • 21:00 23/10/19 – 00:30 24/10/19. Admiralty Chart Numbers 2482 & 2572 refer. Further information may be obtained from Medway VTS on VHF Channel 74, call sign “Medway VTS” or telephone 0151 949 6148 or 0151 949 6650
The MSBA has been made aware of the return of unacceptable practices by the bridge operators in October.
- Bridge operator not responding to repeated VHF calls on Ch 10 until contacted by Medway VTS.
- Bridge not being raised fully despite assurances given to the MSBA by the previous Senior Regional Operations Manager
- Operator calling boats through when ship approaching from opposite direction
We have filed an official complaint with Network Rail, listing dates and times of incidents, but have had an unsatisfactory reply that does not address these points. Network Rail say the bridge is only being lifted fully for commercial, not recreational, vessels and that the bridge will not be raised more than once per hour. Masts are expected to be lowered when possible.
Network Rail have announced that the motors, which date from the 1950s, will be totally replaced in 2017. This should mean an end to disruption caused by the unreliable lifting mechanisms. There will no longer be a limit on the number of lifts in a period of time, subject only to the train timetable.