The Footbridge at Beckenham Junction Station which connects platforms one and two with three and four has finally re-opened after being close for fifteen months. This follows pressure on Network Rail from local politicians, including Bob Stewart and Mike Tickner.
The bridge was closed for repairs in February 2022 and was initially set to re-open in April of that year. However, the repairs were not complete by this date and no update was provided until Member of Parliament of Beckenham, Bob Stewart, wrote to Network Rail to seek an update. Network Rail responded to say that the bridge would be re-opened by January, with Network Rail committing to using the train strikes and reduce services between Christmas and New Year to complete the work. Sadly however, engineers were called to another job.
A number of other deadlines were then missed. Bob raised the matter with a Transport Minister to raise concerns about the service local residents were receiving. Bob’s office and Mike have been regularly chasing Network Rail on a monthly basis. Bob also met with Network Rail in April to raise this matter, and other work on local railways, directly with them.
Network Rail claim that the reason for the initial delay was due to the bridge being more damaged than initially thought, which meant more specialist equipment and engineers were required. On several occasions in early 2023 Network Rail also claim that the engineers required for the work were called away to other “more urgent” work on the network.
Bob Stewart added:
“There are still a number of questions Network Rail face over the handling of these repairs. The Bridge was supposed to be re-opened in April 2022 and instead did not open until the end of May 2023. While the reasons for the delays are understandable, the length of these delays and inability to meet a number of the deadlines are concerning to me. Especially with some big investments in our local railway, such as lifts at Shortlands and Kent House station, mean we need to have confidence in Network Rail’s ability to manage these projects.”