The historic landmark Barmouth Viaduct is set to be protected following a £25m upgrade from Network Rail.
Over the next three years, Network Rail will replace a significant number of timber and metal elements of the viaduct, in addition to replacing the entire length of track along the Grade II listed bridge.
The refurbishment work has been cautiously planned to take place in three stages to lessen disruption. This will include three shorter, full closures of the viaduct, rather than one longer, full closure. To allow the work to be carried out safely, the footpath will also be closed to the public.
The first closure will be in place from 23:40 on Friday 16 October to 05:30 on Monday 2 November.
In 2021, the viaduct will close from 17 September to 18 December. The dates for 2022 are not confirmed, but the closure is likely to be between October and December.
Bill Kelly, Network Rail’s Route Director for Wales and Borders, said: “Standing at nearly half a mile long and more than 150 years old, Barmouth Viaduct is one of Wales’ most unique and iconic structures. It’s the only major timber-built bridge still in use today.
“Our £25m refurbishment is the biggest in the bridge’s history. There will be some disruption when we close the railway and the footbridge to carry out this work, but doing the work now means we can make sure Barmouth Viaduct can continue to serve people for many years to come.
“To protect our people and the communities we serve, we have reviewed all planned railway work to ensure we can deliver the work safely in line with Government guidance. We’ve made changes to the way we work and are confident that we are able to deliver this work safely, and in line with social distancing guidelines for construction work.”
James Price, Transport for Wales CEO, said: “I’m delighted that Network Rail is making this major investment in safeguarding 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 and extra services for the Cambrian Coast Line in the years to come.
“We’re working collaboratively to ensure minimal disruption for our passengers while work takes place. 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. You can do this on the TfW Rail website or the TfW app.”
Gwynedd Councillor Eryl Jones-Williams, the chair of the Cambrian Coast railway forum, said: “Collaboration between Network Rail, CADW, Gwynedd Council and other stakeholders over the past three years has helped to shape the refurbishment plans for Barmouth Viaduct.
“I am pleased Network Rail has taken into account how important Barmouth Viaduct is to the local community and tourists by trying to minimise disruption as much as possible. The upgrade will help maintain connections between the communities to the north and south of the Mawddach estuary.”