Between Saturday October 22 and Sunday October 30, there will be no rail service on the Ebbw Vale line in South Wales while Network Rail engineers carry out improvement work.
The work is being funded by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, supported by a loan from the Welsh Government. The £70 million investment includes major works at Newbridge and Llanhilleth stations.
At Newbridge, new platforms will be built and existing platforms expanded. The railway bridge over Bridge Street in Newbridge will also be replaced; To ensure the safety of staff and the public, the road will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians with a fully marked detour route.
At Llanhilleth, a fully accessible walkway with lifts will be installed.
While the line is closed, a rail replacement bus service will operate.
Over the next few weeks, site enclosures and work areas will be cordoned off at both stations before work begins.
From Monday August 15, the engineers will begin work in Newbridge to devegetate the park and ride at the station. They will also close off most of the spaces in the relay car park and all the spaces in the former Co-op car park. Twenty spaces will remain available in the relay car park.
In Llanhilleth, work zones and compounds are being established in areas to the west of the station car park, next to the Network Rail marshalling yard and in an area next to the railway line opposite of St Illtyd Primary School / the Miners Institute.
Nick Millington, Acting Route Director for Network Rail Wales, said: “I am delighted that this plan to increase the number of trains on the Ebbw Vale line for the communities it serves has reached this key milestone.
“An additional hourly service to Newport will open up a wealth of opportunities for communities on this route whilst providing easier, low carbon access to other major towns on the South Wales Mainline.
“We know there will be disruptions while we deliver this work safely, so I would like to thank the local communities and passengers in advance for supporting us.”
Alexia Course, Director of Transport Operations for Transport for Wales, said: “I am really pleased to see work progressing to upgrade the Ebbw Vale line. The substantial investment will bring significant benefits to people living in Ebbw Vale and surrounding communities.
“We will be able to run more frequent services, including direct services between Ebbw Vale and Newport when the work is completed as part of our wider Wales and Borders network transformation programme.
“During the works, we advise passengers to check our new website, our recently updated app or the TfW social media channels for the latest travel information.”
Councilor Jamie Pritchard, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Prosperity, Regeneration and Climate Change, said: ‘We welcome this major investment and improvements which will help support our master plan for the lower Ebbw Valleys and de Sirhowy – which defines future development and regeneration opportunities to promote communities, strengthen the economy, improve sustainable transport and improve the quality of life for residents.
“Network Rail is hosting a walk-in event at Newbridge Memo on Thursday August 11, between 3.30pm and 6.30pm. I encourage local residents and businesses to come and learn more about the project and the impact on Newbridge and to ask any questions you may have.
Councilor John Morgan, Place and Regeneration Executive Member of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, said: ‘This is positive news which sees plans moving forward with our partners in the Welsh Government, Network Rail and Transport for Wales to improve the rail link of the Ebbw Valley – which remains a high priority for the Council.
“Blaenau Gwent welcomes the investment to double the line in the Ebbw Valley to increase the frequency of services to Newport and the upgrades to Llanhilleth station. This will improve inward investment opportunities and access to employment within and outside the local area, which is seen as a key driver in the context of Cardiff Capital’s wider offering Region City Deal and metro development.