Network Rail engineers install flood protection on Welsh railway line


A multi-million pound resilience project has been successfully delivered on the Cambrian Line in Wales to minimize disruption from flooding.

A trio of storms in February forced the railway between Welshpool and Newtown to close for six weeks while engineers from Network Rail and AmcoGiffen worked to repair more than a dozen washouts caused by flood water levels unprecedented.

To minimize future delays and disruption, Network Rail has now installed 10,000 tonnes of rock protection along the shoreline of a half-mile stretch of the Cambrian Railway line. The extreme climate buffer had already proven successful in reducing flooding in other parts of Wales – in the Conwy Valley and near Abergavenny.

Rock armor prevents ballast from being washed away during extreme storms. This means that recovering the railway from a severe storm can take days, rather than weeks or months.

The railway remained open for full service during resilience upgrades at Welshpool – which involved the installation of locally sourced stone from the Cefn Mawr quarry in Flintshire. A total of 198 engineers were on site for the duration of the project and completed just over 31,000 hours of work.

Network Rail is returning this fall to plant short hedges in the gaps along the rail boundary, which not only helps slow flood waters in the future, but also provides a continuation for the area’s natural corridors.

Nick Millington, Acting Director of Routes for Network Rail Wales and Borders, said: “It’s hard to remember how devastating these February storms were, after the record high temperatures this summer, but we are still planning ahead. advance the next extreme weather event, ensuring that we prioritize investments that will make our railroad more resilient.

“The Cambrian Line is a hugely important rail link to the communities it serves, and I am delighted that it is now better protected against the impacts of climate change so that we can continue to provide a safe and reliable railway for many years to come.

Chris Howchin, Network Rail Wales and Borders Program Manager, said: “I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to our teams at Network Rail and AmcoGiffen who have worked tirelessly over the past few months to not only repair the line but to make it more resistant. , which will help avoid long delays and disruptions for passengers in the future.

“I would like to thank the passengers and the communities we serve along the line for their patience while making this important investment.”

AmcoGiffen’s Director of Operations, Andy Crowley, added: “We are pleased to have been able to quickly and safely repair the damage caused by the February storms and, more importantly, to take additional measures to avoid another washout. over the coming winter.

“The work we have just completed at Welshpool means customers will enjoy better journeys, at a time when reliable public transport is needed more than ever.”

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