BRIDGE WATCH DAY 11: What will new bridge mean for Corby rail users?

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It’s been almost nine months since Corby’s Cottingham Road bridge closed.

The closure as part of the Midland Main Line upgrade, which began in January, was initially due to end on August 14 but that was then extended to September 10, and then September 29 with little notice.

And it was announced just days before the closure was due to end that it would now be extended to October 19.

The delays have affected people who rely on being able to drive over the bridge immensely.

Businesses in the old village say they are on the brink, pubs have lost out on thousands of pounds and pensioners are having to take taxis at their own expense because of the lack of buses.

But how will the new bridge benefit those who go under it on a train?

- The bridge will be higher than the previous structure, allowing electrical wires to pass underneath it for the electrification of the line

- Because of this, the upgrade will improve services between Corby, Kettering and London

- A new timetable in 2020 will allow two dedicated trains to Corby per hour, rather than one

- At least one intercity service per hour will call at Kettering to retain connections with stations served by the Corby services

- The upgrade will allow for 1,000 additional seats into London at its peak, an increase of 50 per cent

- Journey times on greener trains will be faster

Earlier this year Railfuture campaigner David Fursdon, who was instrumental in the opening of Corby Railway Station 10 years ago, said it was great that the Government had included the new Corby service in its blueprint for the future.

He said: “It’s going to increase the service by 50 per cent and will also improve the connectivity with Kettering which we have been struggling with since we opened ten years ago.”

On October 1 the Northants Telegraph launched Bridge Watch, running a story a day until the scheduled October 19 opening date, to ensure that Network Rail stick to their word and re-open the bridge in order for the Old Village businesses to be sure their footfall increases in the vital run up to Christmas.

Ed Akers, principal programme sponsor at Network Rail, apologised for the delay in re-opening the bridge.

He said: “We are working closely with partners to ensure the work on the bridge is finished as quickly as possible and we’d like to thank residents for their patience whilst we complete this vital upgrade.”