Network Rail have begun an operation to carry out urgent repairs on Nuneham Viaduct in Oxfordshire. The southern abutment of the rail bridge is being replaced.
Network Rail have begun an operation to carry out urgent repairs on Nuneham Viaduct in Oxfordshire. The viaduct crosses the River Thames near Abingdon and carries the Didcot to Oxford railway line, which usually sees over 100 passenger services per day. The viaduct is also used by freight trains from Southampton Docks to carry goods to distribution centres.
The southern support structure is being replaced in what Network Rail have described as a “complex operation.” The original bowstring traffic bridge opened in 1907, and in 1929 a new brick northern abutment was added.
In March 2022 engineers reported that the southern abutment was sinking, resulting in a speed restriction. Initially grout was injected to try and repair the damage, but the problem continued and the bridge was fully closed in April 2023. A total replacement of the abutment is now taking place.
Network Rail programme manager Claudia Philps said: “This has allowed us to start the demolition of the embankment and the abutment to allow us to continue the repair and the rebuild of the abutment.”
“Having jacked up the bridge, we’ve been able to expose the top of the [abutment] structure, the bearings, and now since the demolition of the embankment we’ve been able to get behind the structure.”
“It’s incredibly solid in its construction and we’re working through removing it to enable the future construction [of a new abutment]. Once we have completed the removal of the abutment, we’ll then start installing new piles along the same line in order to build the new abutment back up in the coming weeks.”
The viaduct is expected to remain closed until June.