Chepstow to Gloucester railway line to benefit from £25million resilience upgrade

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The railway line between Chepstow and Gloucester will be closed for ten weeks this summer, from Monday July 18 to Saturday September 3, to allow Network Rail to carry out a major £25million upgrade.

In the last two years there have been five major landslides along the line that runs along the Severn Estuary where it is exposed to rain, wind and sea.

The landslides have been attributed to climate change and more frequent extreme weather events.

As a result, there were prolonged line closures and speed restrictions that affected over 200,000 trains.

Drone shot of the Severn Estuary. Railway Network Credit.

The work includes the removal of approximately 30,000 tonnes of material from the cliff along a three-mile stretch of railway line near Lydney. A state-of-the-art mesh and bolt system will then be installed to protect the line from falling debris.

For the first two weeks of the closure, from Monday July 18 to Saturday July 30, the line between Chepstow and Severn Tunnel Junction will also be closed. This is to allow replacement of the railway line crossing the Chepstow Viaduct over the River Wye.

Network Rail is working with Transport for Wales and CrossCountry to keep passengers moving while the work is underway. Cross Country rail services between Nottingham, Birmingham New Street and Cardiff will terminate in Gloucester. Customers traveling between the Midlands and Cardiff Central can travel on GWR train services via Bristol Parkway. Buses will run hourly between Gloucester and Newport, stopping at all stations, and a bus service will also operate between Gloucester and Severn Tunnel Junction, during the two-week closure of that section of the line.

Network Rail is holding a walk-in session on Wednesday 25 May, between 5.30pm and 8.00pm at the Drill Hall in Lower Church Street, Chepstow. The Network Rail project team will be on hand to answer questions about the resilience improvement and track upgrade works between Newport and Gloucester.

Severn Estuary landslide cleanup
Severn Estuary landslide cleanup. Railway Network Credit.

Bill Kelly, Wales & Borders Route Director at Network Rail, said: ‘This is a vital link for passengers and freight, so we must act now to protect the line from extreme weather events and our climate change.

“We have carefully planned this work to take place during the summer holidays to minimize disruption to those who depend on the line for work and education. I want to thank everyone for their patience as we work to protect this important stretch of track and make passenger travel more reliable. »

Rope crews working in a high risk area Little Hagloe
Rope crews working in the Little Hagloe high risk area. Railway Network Credit.

Jan Chaudhry van der Velde, Managing Director of Transport for Wales, said: “Work on rail infrastructure to improve weather resistance has become more urgent as the effects of climate change and severe weather have disrupted rail services in several times in recent years.

“We will provide buses in place of trains during this work to keep passengers moving, and thank passengers in advance for their patience. The long-term benefits will bring more reliable rail services. During the works, we ask customers to check before leaving at https://www.journeycheck.com/tfwrail/.

CrossCountry regional manager Tom Birch said: ‘This line is crucial for both local rail journeys and connectivity between Wales and England, so it’s important for everyone to ensure their resilience against weather events. We would like to thank customers for their patience during the completion of the work and look forward to the early return of our regular train services. »

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