Work by Network Rail to raise a railway bridge near Machynlleth has been completed.
The £3.6m project has seen Black Bridge on the Cambrian Line raised by a metre and taking it above the river flood zone.
Over the last decade, flooding of the River Dulas has caused the line to be closed on over 30 separate occasions.
The work on the bridge was carried out night and day over a six-week period with the team of 360 engineers working a total of 32,000 hours on the project.
They opted to lift the bridge manually using 8 chains to ensure there was no twisting or buckling of the structure.
The 20 tonne chains used raised the bridge by 10mm for every 10 metres of chain pulled, meaning over 12,800 metres of chain were pulled through the lifting blocks.
At the end of May, poor weather meant the work was disrupted, however the work on the bridge was completed on time, and the line reopened today (28th June)
Richard Compton, project manager for Network Rail Wales and Borders, said: “Black Bridge has repeatedly flooded over the years during periods of heavy rainfall, causing regular closures and long delays for passengers. We experienced this flooding first-hand during our work, which shows exactly why raising the bridge is so important. Improving the resilience of Black Bridge means we can continue to provide a safe and reliable railway for passengers for many years to come. I’d like to remind level crossing users that trains will be running again on the line as normal so please follow the instructions at level crossings.”
Andy Crowley, Operations Director Wales and Western at AmcoGiffen, commented: “With nine months from concept to completion, we knew from the outset that it was going to be challenging to deliver this scheme in such a short timescale. We also understood the necessity behind the risk being taken. Collaboration was crucial from the start and when severe weather hit the early days of the project, we all worked together to recoup the lost time and maintain our schedule. It’s important to acknowledge the true team spirit that has been part of this intense scheme from start to finish and we’re delighted to have played our part.”
Alexia Course, Transport for Wales’ Transport Operations Director, added: “The innovative work carried out by Network Rail will help us to provide a more reliable service on this important line during periods of bad weather. We understand disruption is frustrating for our customers, and we’d like to thank them for their patience while the work has taken place over the last six weeks. We look forward to welcoming customers back to this popular route.”
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