Tuesday 27 Oct 2020
Network Rail to accelerate Barmouth viaduct restoration by extending works during lockdown
- Region & Route:
- Wales & Western: Wales & Borders
The £25m upgrade restoration of Barmouth Viaduct, which is a vital transport link for North West Wales, is set to be extended by 48 hours to allow more work to be carried out while passenger numbers are lower because of the firebreak lockdown
The work, which will protect the well-loved bridge for generations and maintain its magnificent appearance, has been carefully planned for it to take place over three years, with three shorter full closures of the viaduct, rather than one longer full closure.
However, with the firebreak lockdown resulting in fewer people travelling at present, and the construction site set up with the necessary people and equipment, Network Rail has agreed with Transport for Wales that the works will continue for a further 48hours to allow restoration work to progress on the timber spans. As a result, the railway and the footbridge will remain closed until the early hours of Wednesday morning (05.30 on 04 November)
Kevin Collins, Network Rail’s route delivery director for Wales and Borders, said:
“Our £25m refurbishment of Barmouth Viaduct is the biggest in this iconic bridge’s history. We have carefully planned our work and it is all on track however the firebreak lockdown creates an opportunity to deliver more work, more efficiently and, most importantly, at a time when it will impact less people. The decision to continue work for another 48 hours means that replacement transport will continue to be provided by Transport for Wales until Wednesday morning (04 November). We know some pupils returning to school will be affected by this extension, so we are supporting Transport for Wales who are working closely with the relevant schools and the local authority. We are grateful to passengers and local people for their understanding and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”
At over 150 years old, the viaduct is in poor condition. Many of the timber elements of the viaduct have decayed significantly over time and a large proportion of the metallic elements have corroded.
Network Rail is completely restoring the viaduct in a way that doesn’t threaten its industrial heritage and its Grade II listed status. This means that components are being replaced on a ‘like-for like’ basis so that the viaduct retains its magnificent appearance.
Transport for Wales is providing rail replacement services during the closure between Pwllheli and Machynlleth stations, and all stations in between. There will also be an additional bus service for local school pupils to take them to and from school during the closure. Passengers, pedestrians and cyclists are advised to plan ahead and allow additional time for travelling.
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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.