The final phase of the ongoing works to restore the Barmouth Viaduct is set to begin this Autumn, with Network Rail announcing a closure to the structure that could last up to 13 weeks.
Network Rail engineers, accompanied with principal contractors, Alun Griffiths, will be continuing the like-for-like restoration works, carefully reconstructing the metallic sections of the structure. Concurrently, teams will be renewing tracks in close proximity to Barmouth Toll House, on the northern edge of the viaduct.
This major infrastructure project to restore the iconic piece of UK railway heritage has been split across several phases since the works began in 2020, with the project carefully planned to avoid the summer season and not disrupt the tourism benefits for the local economy.
The £30m investment into this restoration has, so far, helped the replacement of timber support beams and further timber strengthening works after engineers identified that inner portions had been scalloped out.
Rail Technology Magazine sat down with Gareth Yates, Project Manager at Network Rail Capital Delivery, in late 2022, before these dates were finalised, to discuss this upcoming metallic phase, where he said:
“If you look at the metallic structure, you have the caissons which are the big circle around piles. they are going to remain, so we are taking them back to base metal, repairing them and painting them this year. Everything above is effectively being replaced.
“These works are in the process of being designed, fabricated and are being planned to start in September, however we haven’t finalised dates yet as we are still in consultation with Transport for Wales.
“We were looking to start in September as we are appreciative of how important the structure is to the tourist route and economy of the local area, meaning we are happy to delay until the kids go back to school.”
The railway over the viaduct will be closed on the following dates:
Saturday 2 September to Friday 24 November – This 12-week closure of the line has been confirmed. During this period, engineers will be working to refurbish the metal sections of the bridge.
Saturday 25 November to Saturday 2/Sunday 3 December – Network Rail teams are planning to renew the tracks near to Barmouth Toll House, on the northern end of the viaduct, during this period. These dates are yet to be confirmed.
The footpath over the viaduct will also be closed from Saturday 2 September to Friday 24 November, affording teams full access whilst enabling them to conduct the works safely.
Nick Millington, interim route director for Network Rail Wales & Borders said:
“We are excited to begin work on the final phase of restoring this iconic viaduct. There is no other like it in Britain, so we have meticulously and carefully brought this structure back to life so it can serve passengers for future generations.
“We would like to thank the local community for their support and patience while we have and continue to safely carry out this project. We know that there is never a perfect time to close the railway, but we are happy that we have managed to do so in the least disruptive way – for the community and the tourism that means so much to Barmouth.”
To find out more about the works throughout this project, please click here.
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