The section of railway between Harlech and Pwllheli re-opened on September 1, following the successful rebuilding of Pont Briwet road and rail viaduct.
A modern structure has replaced the 150-year-old wooden bridge over the Afon Dwyryd near Llandecwyn, enabling trains to once again run over the entire length of the Cambrian Coast Line.
The upper section of the railway had closed between Harlech and Pwllheli in November 2013 (shortly after the £20 million bridge-replacement project commenced), after Network Rail engineers encountered problems.
The rail bridge was found to have moved, and had to be closed completely to allow engineers access. Further work was then required earlier this year after “ferocious” winter storms caused widespread damage.
The lower section of the line - between Dovey Junction and Harlech - also closed in January, after storms and tidal surges severely damaged the infrastructure.
Although the railway was quickly re-opened between Dovey Junction and Barmouth, more substantial works were needed at Llanaber. Following a £10m programme to repair the damage, the railway opened between Barmouth and Harlech in May. Work also continued at Pont Briwet throughout the summer.
Network Rail Route Managing Director for Wales Mark Langman said: “I am grateful for the support we had in communities like Barmouth, Harlech and Tywyn, during our efforts to re-open the lower section of the line following the unprecedented storm damage earlier this year.
“Now Gwynedd Council has completed the rail section of Pont Briwet, we are thrilled that services can now resume all the way to Pwllheli. I’d like to thank the communities for their patience while the work has been carried out.”
The bridge replacement has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the Welsh Government, Network Rail and TraCC, and managed by Gwynedd Council. Line speed improvement work across the new bridge has also been included as part of plans to deliver faster journey times on the Cambrian Coast line.
- This news story was published in RAIL 757 on 17 September 2014