Engineers have extended the life of a Victorian viaduct and improved track in Portsmouth following a week of maintenance.
Landport Viaduct, built in 1876 for trains to travel between Portsmouth & Southsea and Portsmouth Harbour stations, was strengthened during a week-long closure from Monday 18 to Sunday 24 January.
10 of the historic viaduct’s 17 spans were strengthened to extend the life of the structure, which will now be painted in work lasting until the end of April. The viaduct’s seven other spans will receive similar treatment at a later date.
In addition to strengthening the viaduct, engineers made the most of the quiet time on the railway to carry out vital maintenance on the line from Cosham and Bedhampton to Portsmouth Harbour.
At a bridge crossing Portsbridge Creek, near Hilsea station, engineers renewed timber rail supports known as wheeltimbers, with the aim of removing a Temporary Speed Restriction (TSR) on the line. Similar work was carried out on St George’s bridge approaching Portsmouth Harbour station.
Also approaching Portsmouth Harbour, engineers made a number of track improvements. Several switches and crossings – which allow trains to move from one track to another – were refurbished with new components including point heaters, which keep them moving in freezing temperatures.
At Fratton train care depot new sidings were installed as part of a long-term programme of improvements to the facility used by Great Western Railway (GWR) and South Western Railway (SWR).
Mark Killick, Wessex route director, said: “I’d like to thank our passengers for their patience while we completed this important programme of improvements. All of the work we carried out last week will improve reliability for services in the Portsmouth area for many years to come.”
Photo credit: Network Rail