Network Rail hopes that a £25 million programme to shore up the landslip-prone Newport-Gloucester line will reduce the number of enforced closures of the important England-Wales freight corridor.
Running alongside the Severn estuary and subject to extreme weather forces, the line has suffered five major collapses over the last two years alone. Temporary speed restrictions are a frequent occurrence.
Commencing next summer, 30,000 tonnes of cliff face will be removed, and mesh-and-bolt caging installed on a three-mile section to stabilise the surface and prevent rock falls.
As well as having 43 freight movements a week, the Newport-Gloucester line is also an important diversionary route between South Wales and London when the Severn Tunnel is closed.