Latest Rail News

01.06.12

Crucial Loughor viaduct rebuild gets the go-ahead

Network Rail has won permission for its £16m replacement of Loughor viaduct, linking Swansea and Llanelli, from Carmarthenshire Council.

It is part of a wider £40m redoubling of a six-mile stretch of line between Cockett West Junction and Duffryn West Junction, which will also see the eastbound platform of Gowerton station reopened.

The Grade 2 listed viaduct, built in 1852, carries the line across the tidal estuary of the River Loughor. It is the only surviving timber viaduct designed by Brunel and Fletcher, according to the Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments ofWales.

When the project is finished, the route will have the capacity to handle two extra trains per hour betweenSwanseaand Llanelli and one extra train per hour betweenSwanseaandCarmarthen.

RTM spoke to Sue Miles, co-ordinator of SWWITCH (the South West Wales Integrated Transport Consortium), a formal alliance of the four unitary authorities in the region, about the project for our Dec/Jan 2012 edition. She said then: “The re-doubling of the line is a priority in the SWWITCH Regional Transport Plan 2010-2015 as it is seen as critical to increase the resilience of the current service – and thus fewer delays for passengers – and to enable improved levels of service to be introduced in the future to serve growth in passenger numbers.

“SWWITCH believes the work will make rail a more viable and attractive transport option in south westWalesand encourage more multi-modal journeys in the longer term.”

Mark Langman, route managing director for Network Rail Wales, said: “The scheme promises to bring huge social economic benefits in south westWalesby improving capacity and connectivity to key employment centres such asSwansea, Llanelli,Carmarthen, Fishguard and Milford Haven. There will be an improved passenger experience with shorter journey times and better connections that will also encourage modal shift, potentially removing around 300,000 trips from road to rail and improving the green credentials of rail.”

Network Rail is planning a temporary closure of the railway over Easter next year, but otherwise should be able to do much of the work without major disruption to passengers. It is planning to use barges and platforms to further minimise disruption.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

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