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.
Peel Ports have issued a Notice to Mariners to the effect that from 0800 until 1600 on Friday 4 December 2015 the Kingsferry Bridge can not perform bridge span lifts due to essential maintenance and repair work to the lifting motors.
A Peel Ports Notice to Mariners issued yesterday states that normal bridge operations have now been restored. Neverthless we understand that a major refurbishment is still required at some future date.
NtoM No 09 of 2015 – Kingsferry Bridge – Normal Conditions Restored
Peel Ports advise that bridge span lifts will not be possible during peak train operating times and all lifts will take approximately 1 hour to complete. A minimum of 3 hours notice will be required to arrange a bridge span lift. Vessel movements may have to be delayed to facilitate the most efficient use of each bridge span lift.
All leisure vessels requiring to transit the bridge should contact the bridge operator on VHF channel 10 to be advised of the next available bridge span lift time.
NtoM No 08 of 2015 – Kingsferry Bridge – limited span lift capabilities until further notice
Max Taylor, Peel Ports DHM, tells us that changes in the train time table now result in commercial vessels planning bridge lifts at minute 10 and minute 40 past the hour. (The trains pass the Swale halt at minute 5 and minute 35 past the hour). This is useful info for the recreational boater wishing to use the bridge. It should be noted that most commercial lifts only take place 5 hours before HW to 1 hour after HW.
The KFB is scheduled for closures for various periods on 18-21 August. For details see www.eastcoastpilot.com. Also the Havengore Bridge is currently closed until further notice.
After a few years of much improved operation, we are once more receiving reports of excessive delays at Kingsferry Bridge, which is supposed to open once an hour on request. The bridge is operated by Network Rail. If you cannot get a response from the bridge operator on VHF channel 10, or you are held up for an excessive time, please contact Medway VTS on VHF channel 74 and ask for the incident to be recorded.
Delays at the bridge can seriously affect the viability of Queenborough Harbour as a destination for visiting yachts. It can also jeopardise the safety of boats heading for moorings in the Swale creeks due to their limited tidal access.
Boat hits Kingsferry Bridge
Sailing barge Repertor hits Kingsferry Bridge