The first stage of the £25 million upgrade to Barmouth Viaduct has been completed by Network Rail. The restoration works are to protect it for local people and visitors in the future.
The viaduct is an essential transport link for North West Wales. This stage of work was extended by 48 hours to allow for more work to be carried out while passenger numbers are lower because of the firebreak lockdown.
The renewal work involves replacing more than 1,000 timber and metal elements of the viaduct, which are rotting or decaying, as well as the entire 820m length of track. Network Rail is doing this on a like for like basis to maintain the viaduct’s infamous appearance.
Bill Kelly, Network Rail’s Route Director for Wales and Borders, said: “The restoration of Barmouth Viaduct will help us protect our industrial heritage and make sure this vital transport link can continue to serve local people and visitors in the future.
“We have been planning this work for years and I am delighted that the first stage of the upgrade has now been completed. A project of this scale is never without challenges, but more so this year and I am proud of our team for getting the work done safely, following Government guidelines, during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Thank you to our partners and the local community who have been really supportive of this project from the very beginning. There is more work to do of course and we will be back next year to continue the £25m upgrade.”
James Price, Transport for Wales CEO, said: “I’m delighted that Network Rail is making great progress in its work to safeguard the future of this iconic structure and the Cambrian Coast Line. This investment sits alongside our own investment in transforming services throughout the Wales and Borders network, including brand new trains for the Cambrian Coast 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.”
Liz Saville Roberts MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd said: “This substantial investment will safeguard Barmouth Viaduct for future generations, strengthening ties among communities along the Cambrian coast and serving as a vital tourism link.”
Dafydd-Elis Thomas MS for Dwyfor Meirionnydd said: “The major reconstruction is a brilliant contribution by builders Network Rail to celebrate the heritage of the Cambrian Coast Railway as well as to ensure its future access to its terminus of Pwllheli via the historic Afonwen Junction.”
Image: Network Rail