The Cambrian Line resilience project has been successfully delivered, ensuring passenger journeys moving forward will be more reliable after a multi-million-pound investment into rock armour has been completed.
After a plethora of damaging storms in February 2022 forced a six-week closure to the rail line between Welshpool and Newtown, engineers from Network Rail and AmcoGiffen have worked tirelessly to fix over a dozen washouts caused by unprecedented levels of flood water.
These engineering works saw the installation of 10,000 tonnes of rock armour along the bank of a-half-mile stretch of the Cambrian Railway line. The purpose of this armour is to provide protection for the ballast and prevent it from washing away during extreme weather events. This method of resilience boosting has a history of success in other parts of the railway, seeing successful implementation in the flood-prone section of the Conwy Valley railway and near Abergavenny.
The usage of this rock armour will drastically minimise future delays and disruption along the line, meaning that after harsh storm conditions, the railway can recover in a matter of weeks as opposed to months.
Nick Millington, interim route director at Network Rail Wales and Borders, said:
“It’s hard to remember how devastating those February storms were, after the record-breaking temperatures this summer, but we’re always planning ahead to the next extreme weather event, making sure we are prioritising investments that will make our railway more resilient.
“The Cambrian Line is a hugely important rail link for the communities it serves, and I am delighted it’s now better protected from the impacts of climate change so we can continue to provide a safe and reliable railway for many years to come.”
The upgrade works at Welshpool were conducted over a 31,000 hour stretch of work through the help of 198 engineers, who enabled the project to be completed whilst the railway remained open for full services.
Network Rail will plant short hedgerows in the gaps along the railway boundary throughout this Autumn, which will aid in the reduction of flood waters building up whilst also providing a continuation to nature’s corridors in the area.
Colin Lea, Transport for Wales’ Planning and Performance Director, said:
“We welcome this investment by Network Rail in making the Cambrian Line safer and more resilient. The work to prevent damage and disruption from flooding will help secure the future of this important route, which provides a vital link for communities in North and Mid Wales.
“We would like to thank the teams who have been working around the clock on site over recent weeks in difficult conditions.”
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