North West Wales

Barmouth to Harlech Cambrian rail line to reopen ahead of schedule

Cambrian Coast line being repaired after 2014 winter storm Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption Trains will run between Barmouth and Harlech again on 1 May

A section of the Cambrian Coast railway line in Gwynedd is to reopen in May ahead of schedule after it was damaged by severe storms.

Sea defences and embankments from Barmouth to Harlech were destroyed by high tides leaving thousands of tonnes of rocks and boulders on the line.

Network Rail said trains would run between the towns again on 1 May as it completes a £10m programme of repairs.

Another section from Machynlleth to Barmouth reopened last month.

Network Rail said dozens of engineers had been working around the clock, seven days a week, to repair the sea defences and rebuild the railway line, which would reopen two weeks ahead of schedule.

One of the worst affected sites was at Llanaber, north of Barmouth, where the winter storms and tidal surges had severely damaged the line.

As part of the major repairs, 40 tonnes of debris have been removed and 6,000 pieces of "rock armour" that form the sea protection have been replaced or repaired.

In order to re-open the line, the team has also been replacing more than 1,000 sleepers, 2,500 tonnes of ballast and 1,400 metres of track.

Mark Langman, Network Rail's route managing director for Wales, said: "I'm fully aware of the importance of the line to the local economy.

"We know it's an important route for tourists and I'm determined that the work will be completed as soon as is possible. I'd also like to thank the local communities along the line for their patience whilst the work has been carried out."

Lynne Milligan, customer services director at Arriva Trains Wales, welcomed the news and thanked customers for their patience and understanding over the last few months.

"We will continue to run a regular rail replacement bus service between Harlech and Pwllheli and look forward to the rest of the line reopening in the very near future," she said.

Beyond the repair work, a long-term strategy called the coastal asset management plan was being developed to safeguard the 34 miles (55km) of railway sea defences against the impact of extreme weather.

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