Damaged caused by a freight train derailment and fire means that the Heart of Wales line will not fully reopen until 2021. Additional work on the flood-damaged section also continues.
Network Rail has released a timescale for repairs after two major incidents on the line in a month.
In August, heavy rain caused severe damage to the railway near Llandrindod Wells, which forced the railway to close in Mid-Wales. Then, a freight train derailed and caught fire just weeks later.
Network Rail is working around the clock to repair both incident sites, with the storm damage being finished in November. However, the section of line near Llangennech where the derailment took place will not reopen until the New Year.
Heavy rain meant that multiple landslips and washouts closed the line near Llandrindod Wells, with around 3,000 tonnes of embankments and track being damaged, whilst the ballast was washed away by flooding.
Network Rail has made progress in repairing the storm damage, with 100s of metres of debris cleared, whilst work is being completed to re-instate track. Engineers are working to stabilise the track and embankments whilst also installing new culverts that will help to drain water and prevent flooding.
At Llangennech, work is expected to continue until the end of December ahead of a reopening in the new year.
Derailed wagons have been moved, and Network Rail is working with Natural Resources Wales and DB Cargo UK to repair track, and deal with contamination caused by the diesel spillage.
Bill Kelly, Network Rail’s Wales route director, said: “A huge amount of progress has already been made as our engineers work tirelessly to repair the damage and open the Heart of Wales line as quickly as possible.
“They have had a mountain to climb in the last few weeks, but we now know the timescales for the reopening of the line, which we know is so vital to the local communities it serves.
“We thank those communities and passengers for their patience, and we will continue to keep them updated with our progress.”
Alexia Course, rail operations director, Transport for Wales said: “It is great to see our colleagues in Network Rail progressing with work on the Heart of Wales line and we will reinstate rail services once the work is completed.
“We are still facing challenges as a result of Covid-19 and will be able to release further timetable information closer to the time of work completion.
“I’d like to thank customers for their patience and ask that they continue to check services online. We will continue to provide transport links using replacement buses.”
David Edwards, chairman of the Heart of Wales Line Development Company, commented, “In recent months our line has been particularly badly affected by weather and other events, including Covid.
“We are glad to acknowledge the huge efforts being made by rail industry colleagues to reopen the route.
“When this has been achieved we intend to do all we can to ensure that the line plays it’s part in supporting local community activity and to the tourism sector, including our own award-winning Walking Trail”
The level crossing at Llandrindod Wells will be improved this Autumn with the majority of work to being completed between the 4th and 14th December. This means that the level crossing and the railway will be closed.
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