The key passenger and freight route between Oxford and Didcot reopened on Friday June 9, after work was completed on the Nuneham viaduct over the river Thames east of Abingdon.
Network Rail was one day ahead of schedule. Local services resumed from 0730, but passengers were not told in advance, so the trains ran empty. By early afternoon, the first freight train was allowed through. A full timetable returned (as planned), on Saturday June 10.
The line had been closed for 66 days since April 3. Around 100 passenger services had been cancelled each day. Forty daily freight trains serving Southampton docks were also diverted via west London.
The bridge had been supported on temporary piles driven into the bed of the river Thames. This enabled the crumbling southern abutment to be demolished, along with a stretch of embankment. New structures were built, and in the final week of the closure the 150-tonne bridge was lowered onto the new structure and the tracks were re-laid.
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