Wednesday 1 Dec 2021
Barmouth viaduct restoration extended as engineers discover damage much worse than feared
Network Rail has apologised to passengers and the local community as its £30m restoration of Barmouth Viaduct is being extended after engineers found the condition of the timber structure was worse than anticipated.
The work to refurbish the Grade II* listed viaduct is the biggest and most ambitious in its history with the three-year programme scheduled to replace more than 1,000 timber and metal parts of the bridge, which are rotten and decaying.
The railway will now reopen on 29 December, 17 days later than planned, so engineers can safely carry out the additional repairs.
As work has progressed this autumn, Network Rail engineers have had the opportunity to thoroughly examine the condition of the structure. Unfortunately, a number of additional timbers under the railway and the walkway have been found to need replacing due to deterioration.
Gareth Yates, project manager at Network Rail, said: “We understand that this is disappointing and are very sorry for the inconvenience this extended closure of the railway and walkway will cause.
“The extent of the damage is far worse than we feared so we are extending this work now, when visitor numbers to Barmouth are lower and schools are going into Christmas holidays, to reduce disruption as much as possible.
“We will have engineers working around the clock to get the railway reopened.
“The work we are carrying out will ensure this iconic viaduct will continue to serve the community and visitors for many years to come.”
The viaduct will not be able to reopen while this vital work is carried out and is now planned to reopen to rail passengers on 29 December, assuming no further defects are found, and subject to extreme weather conditions which can cause delays when lifting machinery and cranes are needed.
Network Rail is working closely with Transport for Wales as they make arrangements to provide rail replacement services during the extended closure of the railway.
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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.