The railway is currently closed between Dovey Junction and Pwllheli due to severe damage at a number of locations, including Tywyn, Barmouth and Criccieth.
The railway along the coast was battered by the high tides and storm surge resulting in damage to sea defences and embankments, the loss of rail ballast to the sea and debris including rocks and boulders littering the line.
Efforts to inspect the line and assess the damage were initially hampered by the continuing severe weather and high tides. Network Rail engineers brought in a specialist helicopter to undertake aerial surveys of the damage. Following detailed on the ground inspections over the last week, a strategy is now in place to safely re-open the line.
Given the scale of damage, Network Rail is to undertake a phased approach to re-open the line. Work to repair the damaged sites in the Tywyn area allow the line to re-open as far as Barmouth. The current estimate is that this section will be operational by week commencing Monday 10th February 2014.
The line onwards from Barmouth to Pwllheli, which suffered the most devastating damage, will take longer to repair and we are currently working on a programme to re-open fully by mid-May 2014.
Mark Langman, route managing director for Network Rail Wales, said: “Network Rail fully understands the social and economic role that the Cambrian Coast line plays in the communities along it. The line connects villages, towns, schools and health centres, whilst also being important to the tourism industry in the region.
"This has been an extremely challenging period, but the rebuilding operation is underway and our priority is to safely re-open the railway as soon as is possible. I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for the on-going inconvenience and also thank rail passengers for their patience as we repair this unprecedented damage.”
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About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain’s railway – the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts, and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.5bn journeys by rail every year; an increase of 50% in a decade. We’re investing £38bn in the railway by 2019 to deliver more frequent, more reliable, safer services and brighter and better stations.