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£25m resilience upgrades on Newport to Gloucester line to begin in July

The upcoming Network Rail £25m resilience programme is set to begin in July, in the hopes to prevent future landslips along the Newport-Gloucester line. This programme has been specially designed to protect the line from extreme-weather landslips, caused by climate change.

In recent years, this line has seen five major incidents relating to landslips, recorded between 2020-2021 alone. The consistent structural damages have led to extended closures along the line, as well as temporary speed restrictions which have delayed more than 200,000 trains, removing reliability among passenger travel.

The resilience works will see more than 30,000 tonnes of material to be removed from the cliff face adjacent to the line, which will allow 27,000 square metres of mesh to be installed along three miles of track. This mesh lining will stabilise the cliff face and prevent any future landslips from affecting the tracks and rolling stock.

To safely carry out these works, the railway is going to see temporary closures between Lydney and Gloucester for seven weeks. These closures will begin on Monday 18th July until Saturday 3rd September, seeing bus replacement services available to passengers.

The majority of renovation works will be conducted during the upcoming school holidays, in order to minimise disruptions for students as much as possible.

For the first two weeks, the closure will extend to Severn Tunnel Junction to allow essential track renewal work to take place near Chepstow from Monday 18 July until Saturday 30 July.

Nick Millington, acting route director at Network Rail Wales & Border said:

 “We’re already seeing the extreme effect climate change is having on our weather - with coastal and more exposed parts of the railway being heavily impacted. Keeping the railway safe is our number one priority and we’re also striving to secure the future of vital rail links, like this, in Wales and the Borders.”

“I recognise there’s never an ideal time to close the railway, but we’ve done everything we can to minimise disruption for passengers and freight services while we carry out this work, which will make passengers’ journey much more reliable in the future.”

Engineering contractors, Taziker, have been awarded the contract for the project, working alongside Network Rail. This contract will see steps in place to reduce carbon emissions and noise pollution from the construction process, as Taziker will be using 100% solar-powered generators to provide the energy for welfare units, office cabins and lighting.

Steve Corcoran, Chief Executive of Taziker, said:

“We’re extremely proud to be partnering up with Network Rail on this project.

“Our expert teams have created a system of works that will not only protect the line for passengers from future landslips, but also protect the local community and environment while the work is undertaken using green energy supplies, investing in the local economy and minimising disruption where possible.”

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