Bridge over troubled water: £3.6m bridge lift to reduce passenger flood delays: black bridge flooding

Thursday 18 Mar 2021

Bridge over troubled water: £3.6m bridge lift to reduce passenger flood delays

Region & Route:
Wales & Western: Wales & Borders

Network Rail engineers will be raising Black Bridge, near Machynlleth, by one metre to lift it out of the flood zone.

This will protect the bridge from high river levels and significantly reduce disruption for passengers.

During periods of heavy rainfall, the bridge is repeatedly flooded, causing regular closures on the Machynlleth to Shrewsbury route, leaving large sections of the Cambrian lines in central Wales isolated.

The railway will be closed from 15 May to 28 June so that the main work to raise the bridge and reprofile the track can be carried out safely.  

Transport for Wales will be providing rail replacement services between Machynlleth and Shrewsbury during this time. Lockdown travel restrictions are currently in place in Wales. Please check the latest Government guidance before travelling.

Kevin Giles, senior asset engineer for Network Rail Wales and Borders, said: “The flooding at Black Bridge has been a problem for the past 25 to 30 years, but it is happening more frequently now.

“We want to get this route ready for the future and make it more reliable for our passengers.

“We will be lifting the structure and track on each side, so that we can keep the line out of the water during the flooded conditions.”

Alexia Course, Transport for Wales’ director of transport operations, said: “We’re delighted to see Network Rail taking this vital step in improving the resilience of the Cambrian Line. This sits alongside our own investment in transforming services throughout the Wales and Borders network, including brand new trains and extra services for the Cambrian Line in the years to come.

“We’re working collaboratively to ensure minimal disruption for our passengers while work is ongoing. As our services will be affected, it’s important for anyone travelling on the Cambrian Line to check before you travel, in case of any changes to our timetables. You can do this on the TfW Rail website or the TfW app.”

A spokesperson for the Growing Mid Wales Partnership said: “The Growing Mid Wales Partnership welcomes the investment by Network Rail in the Cambrian Line at Black Bridge, Machynlleth.

"The Cambrian Main Line is a strategic rail corridor for Mid Wales, and we welcome investments that will help minimise disruption of services and provide a reliable service for residents in the long term.”

The bridge goes over the River Dulas in Powys, which is a fish spawning river. This means there is a limited time period when Network Rail can carry out the resilience work. Network Rail is working in collaboration with Natural Resources Wales and ecological specialists, doing everything possible to protect the sensitive local environment.

Network Rail’s contractors Amco Giffen will begin preparation work from the end of March.

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Kathy Peart
Media relations manager
Network Rail

About Network Rail

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.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: