The train service between Harlech and Pwllheli is open for business again today (Monday, 1 September) following the successful rebuild of Pont Briwet viaduct.
The project has seen the 150 year-old wooden bridge over the Afon Dwyryd near Llandecwyn replaced with a modern structure.
Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Welsh Government, Network Rail and TraCC, and managed by Gwynedd Council, the project has also involved line speed improvement work across the new bridge as part of plans to deliver faster journey times on the route.
With the rail bridge now complete, trains are now able to run the entire Cambrian Coast line for the first time since late 2013.
The upper section of the Cambrian Coast railway closed between Harlech and Pwllheli in November 2013, shortly after the £20m bridge-replacement project commenced, so work to replace the structure could be conducted safely.
Further work was required on the Cambrian Coast earlier this year after ferocious winter storms caused widespread damage. The lower section of the line – between Dovey Junction and Harlech – closed in January, after storms and tidal surges severely damaged the infrastructure.
The railway was quickly opened between Dovey Junction and Barmouth, with more substantial works needed at Llanaber. Following a £10m programme to repair the damage, the railway opened between Barmouth and Harlech in May.
Work continued at Pont Briwet through the summer months and, now the rail-bridge is complete, trains can continue onward from Harlech to Pwllheli.
Mark Langman, Network Rail’s route managing director for Wales, 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.”
As the railway line is now open to trains, Network Rail is reminding people of the risks of trespassing on the railway.
Mr Langman continued: “The communities along the line have been extremely patient while this vital work has been carried out, however we know that some people have been taking shortcuts across the railway while it has been closed.
“We would like to remind them that trains are now running as normal and trespass on the railway or misuse of level crossings is extremely dangerous as well as being a serious criminal offence. We want everyone to stay safe and stay off the tracks.”
ADDITIONAL QUOTE FROM ARRIVA TRAINS ADDED:
Ben Davies, Stakeholder Manager for Arriva Trains Wales says “It is great to see the Cambrian coast line fully up and running again and we look forward to welcoming customers old and new to use what I believe to be one of the most beautiful scenic rail journeys in the UK. This line plays an important role in people’s daily lives and I know the hundreds of school children returning to school for the autumn term will be glad that the service is now fully operational. As part of the celebrations we have a special “Pricebuster” promotion for local journey s on the Cambrian Coast line – we hope this will act as an added incentive for more people, both locals and tourists alike, to use the line. “
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