Chance to Visit Somerleyton Swing Bridge

Background

People in Suffolk will have a rare opportunity to see behind the scenes of Somerleyton railway swing bridge next month as part of the Lowestoft Heritage Open Days Festival.

Operated by Network Rail, the bridge was constructed in the early 1900s and has carried the railway, between Norwich and Lowestoft across the River Waveney for over 100 years. It
still opens to allow river traffic several times a day using much of its original mechanical equipment.

The tours are set to be a major highlight of the heritage festival which runs from 8th to 17th September has a number of other transport themed activities including vintage bus tours, free
entry to one of the region’s top transport museums, exhibitions featuring the former Lowestoft to Yarmouth Railway, photographs of the region’s rail routes and a talk and walk
around Lowestoft station showing how it narrowly survived destruction during two World Wars.

 

The Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership and the Lowestoft Central Project are  organising the tours in collaboration with Network Rail. Community Rail Norfolk
development officer Martin Halliday said, “We are delighted to be supporting the Lowestoft Heritage Open Days Festival once again this year and are very pleased to be working with
Network Rail to enable the public a rare opportunity to tour Somerleyton swing bridge.”

Network Rail Anglia operations manager Ian Martin said, “Somerleyton swing bridge is a marvel of Edwardian engineering which is usually out of bounds to the general public. As part of the Heritage Open Days Festival and through our great relationship with the Community Rail Partnership, it is a pleasure to give people the chance to see the original equipment first-hand.”

With its remote location within the marshes, those attending tours must be able to walk approximately one mile on uneven ground and be able to climb several steps. Those
applying for tickets will be allocated a time slot and meeting point where they will be escorted to and from the bridge.

Guided tours will take place on Saturday 9th September & Saturday 16th September. Those wishing to visit the bridge are required to apply for tickets by emailing
lowestoftcentral@gmail.com or calling in person at the Community Rail Shop and Tourist Information Office at Lowestoft railway station.

All events taking place during the Heritage Open Days Festival are available to view online at www.heritageopendays.org.uk and searching Lowestoft.

Somerleyton swing bridge is on the Suffolk-Norfolk border, spanning the River Waveney.

It was built in 1905 to carry the double-tracked Norwich to Lowestoft line (today known as part of the Greater Anglia Wherry Lines) over the river, replacing a previous single-tracked bridge. It is named after the nearby Suffolk village of Somerleyton.

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