Last weekend, TUC RAIL and Infrabel worked around the clock to install a new steel arch bridge over the Blankenbergse Steenweg in Bruges. Train traffic on Lines L51 (Bruges – Blankenberge), 51A (Bruges – Zeebrugge) and 51B (Bruges – Knokke-Heist) was interrupted for 48 hours to allow dismantling of the old railway bridge and installation of the new bridge in record time.
New steel arch bridge for 3 tracks
The renovation work is part of the construction of a third track between Bruges and Dudzele to cope with the increasing rail traffic to and from the coast. During the past months, the 50 meter long and almost 800 tons heavy steel arch bridge was assembled on a piece of land a few hundred meters from the existing railway bridge.
Last weekend, during a 48-hour total line interruption, the existing railway bridge was dismantled and the new bridge was installed. During this work, road traffic on the underlying regional road was interrupted for only one week. This spectacular operation was carried out to a very tight schedule because train traffic had to be up and running again on Monday morning. After removing the old bridge, the old abutments were demolished and the new arch bridge was put in place using Self Propelled Modular Transporters (SPMTs). The bridge was already fully pre-ballasted and the new abutments had been pushed into place during a prior work weekend in 2017. Finally, the bridge deck joints were placed, the new tracks were installed and the overhead lines were placed back. Everything went smoothly and both tracks were back in operation on Monday morning!