Rail strikes to disrupt Kingsferry Bridge openings

Industrial action by the rail union RMT is expected to disrupt the operation of Kingsferry Bridge. Strikes are planned for June 21st, 23rd and 25th; however, the impact will also affect periods outside of these days. Normal service will be maintained up to 06:00 on Tuesday 21st June and will not resume until the 26th. Network Rail have implemented a contingency plan to cater for the spells of industrial action meaning the bridge will be manned and lifts available over the following dates and time periods:

Tuesday 21st June 2022 Midnight – 06:00 and 08:00 – 20:00
Wednesday 22nd June 2022 06:00 – Midnight
Thursday 23rd June 2022 Midnight – 18:00
Friday 24th June 2022 06:00 – Midnight
Saturday 25th June 2022 Midnight – 06:00 and 07:00 – 19:00

Priority will be given to commercial shipping, however, leisure craft will also be able to transit the bridge but it is advised to give as much notice as possible to avoid delays. If talks between employers and the unions are successful and industrial action is avoided a cancellation notice will be issued.

Kingsferry Bridge Closures (updated)

Network Rail have informed Peel Ports about planned maintenance taking place on Kingsferry Bridge from 26 November to 3 December 2020. The work will involve a 6 hour lockdown of all electrical power and will cause disruption from approximately LW-3hrs to LW +3hrs (see below).

Between the times stated on the dates below bridge lifts will not be possible:
26.11.2020 – 13:00 – 19:00
27.11.2020 – 13:30 – 19:30
30.11.2020 – 14:50 – 22:30
01.12.2020 – 16:30 – 22:30
02.12.2020 – 17:30 – 23:30
03.12.2020 – 18:00 – 00:00

And more:

14.12.2020 – 14:00 – 20:00 LW Sheerness – 18:18
15.12.2020 – 14:30 – 22:30 LW Sheerness – 19:04
16.12.2020 – 15:30 – 21:30 LW Sheerness – 19:47
17.12.2020 – 16:30 – 22:30 LW Sheerness – 20:27

Kingsferry Bridge closed to leisure craft 24+25 Oct

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.

Kingsferry Bridge update

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.

Kingsferry Bridge: more problems

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.