£10m programme of storm repairs
Trains are set to run again between Barmouth and Harlech on 1 May, said Network Rail, as it works to complete the £10m programme of storm repairs two weeks ahead of schedule. A rail replacement bus service will continue between Harlech and Pwllheli.
Dozens of engineers have been working round the clock, seven days a week, to repair the sea defences and rebuild the railway line, says Network Rail. One of the worst affected sites was at Llanaber, north of Barmouth, where the winter storms and tidal surges had severely damaged the infrastructure.
40 tonnes of debris have been removed and 6,000 pieces of ‘rock armour’ that form the sea protection have been replaced or repaired. The team has also been replacing more than 1,000 sleepers, 2,500 tonnes of ballast and 1,400 metres of track.
Mark Langman, route managing director for Wales said: ‘I’m fully aware of the importance of the line to the local economy. We know it’s an important route for tourists and I’m determined that the work will be completed as soon as is possible. I’d also like to thank to local communities along the line for their patience whilst the work has been carried out’.
A long-term strategy is currently being developed to safeguard the 34 miles of Wales railway sea defences against the impact of extreme weather and changing climate, says Network Rail. The long-term strategy aims to build on the existing annual £1.2m programme to maintain and renew the railway sea defences in Wales. It is also aimed at boosting resilience of the railway, using data based on increased frequency of severe weather and rising sea level predictions to inform the maintenance and renewal strategy for coastal routes.