Barmouth Viaduct is set to open temporarily for the Christmas period to allow pedestrians to enjoy a festive walk across the Grade II listed structure
The viaduct is set to reopen temporarily from Christmas day until Sunday the 9th of January 2022 following its £30m restoration project, which initially began in September but once underway, engineers discovered that its condition was far worse than expected.
The impressive structure will see work recommence from Monday the 10th of January and will reopen during the middle of February 2022.
This extended period of closure for the walkway will mean that Network Rail can repair and replace all elements of the walkway and handrailing that are essential for safety purposes.
The extra railway works have also seen an extension to the planned work of 17 days and will be completed by Saturday, the 29th of December.
Project manager at Network Rail, Gareth Yates, said: “I am delighted that, despite some horrendous weather conditions in the last month, we have made good progress and are on track to reopen the railway line on 29 December so that passengers can once again travel over this iconic viaduct.
“The people of Barmouth have been so supportive of our restoration work and we know how important the viaduct is to the local community, so we have worked around the clock to enable the walkway to be temporarily reopened during the festive period.
“The bridge was in a much worse condition than we expected, so we need to return in January to complete the necessary work on the walkway, but the railway will remain open during this time.
“Our £30m restoration will mean Barmouth Viaduct will be safer and more resilient to challenging weather conditions in the future.”
Head of Environment for Gwynedd Council, Dafydd Williams, said: “Progress on this challenging project has been encouraging. The works have uncovered further unforeseen issues that need attending to, and unfortunately this means that the walkway has to remain shut for a while longer in the new year.
“Whilst we recognise that this is not ideal, we are comforted that the thorough work will ensure that maintenance disruption will be kept to a minimum, in the future.”
The huge restoration process will see the replacement of over 1,000 timber and metal elements on the viaduct which are rotting or in a state of decay. The project will also include its full 820m length of track replaced. In order to maintain the viaducts stunning appearance, Network Rail are using a ‘like for like’ approach during the work.
Working closely with Cadw, Gwynedd County Council, Transport for Wales and others, Network Rail has been working for a number of years to set up the plans in order to upgrade the viaduct. In order to keep the impact of the work to a minimum, the project will see work ongoing for a period of three years utilising three shorter closures rather than one longer closure.
In 2022, Network Rail will undertake the replacement of metallic spans of the viaduct and corresponding track. Work will also be carried out by Network Rail to upgrade the track to both the North and South end of the viaduct during 2022. This work will see the bridge closed for a few months beginning on Sunday the 11th of September and ending on Sunday the 11th of December 2022.
Transport for Wales will be putting rail replacement services into place during the railway closure with passengers advised to check ahead of travelling.
To find out more about the project, please visit: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/barmouth