Work will begin later this month to strengthen and repair a bridge which has carried trains across the River Thames for 150 years.

Battersea Rail Bridge, also known as Cremorne Bridge, will be refurbished by National Rail.

The refurbishments are expected to extend the bridge’s life expectancy by at least another 100 years.

The bridge first opened in 1863 and links Battersea to Chelsea, providing an important transport link across the River Thames.

Initial work will begin later this month and will include repainting, strengthening and repairing the structure of the bridge.

The majority of the work will take place while trains continue to use the bridge.

Refurbishments are expected to be completed in spring 2014.

Mark Ruddy, Network Rail’s route managing director, said: “Battersea Rail Bridge is a historic structure that provides a vital rail link between north and south London. We always want to minimise disruption to passengers as much as possible and have planned the work so the majority of it can be carried out while trains continue to run.

“There are many challenges to overcome, and it is a complex engineering project, but the improvements will mean the bridge will continue to be used for at least another 100 years.

“The work is part of our ongoing commitment to provide a safe, reliable and efficient railway. It is inevitable that work of this nature will cause some level of noise but local residents can be reassured that everything will be done to minimise disruption as much as possible while it is taking place.”