An historic railway bridge will be replaced this weekend by Network Rail to allow trains to run at full speed again. The Huntley and Palmers bridge, which runs on top of a former railway tunnel used by steam trains to transport biscuits from the famous Reading company, will be renewed on Saturday, March 20, and Sunday, March 21, in a weekend closure to South Western Railway (SWR), Great Western Railway (GWR) and CrossCountry services.
The bridge dates back to the late 1800s and today crosses what is affectionately known as ‘Biscuit Tunnel’. Long after the closure of both the biscuit branch line and just under 40 years since the Huntley and Palmers factory closed its doors, the tunnel was re-opened as a pedestrian and cycle path in 2015.
In recent years, trains on the Reading to Wokingham line have been forced to run at lower speeds over the bridge in order to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe. Breathing new life into the famous bridge and improving both train performance and safety, engineers will replace its metallic superstructure and wooden rail supports with a ballasted, concrete deck.