Network Rail engineers will be raising Black Bridge, near Machynlleth, by one metre to lift it out of the flood zone. This will protect the bridge from high river levels and significantly reduce disruption for passengers. During periods of heavy rainfall, the bridge is repeatedly flooded, causing regular closures on the Machynlleth to Shrewsbury route, leaving large sections of the Cambrian lines in central Wales isolated.
The railway will be closed from 15 May to 28 June so that the main work to raise the bridge and reprofile the track can be carried out safely. Transport for Wales will be providing rail replacement services between Machynlleth and Shrewsbury during this time. Lockdown travel restrictions are currently in place in Wales. Please check the latest Government guidance before travelling.
Kevin Giles, senior asset engineer for Network Rail Wales and Borders, said: “The flooding at Black Bridge has been a problem for the past 25 to 30 years, but it is happening more frequently now. We want to get this route ready for the future and make it more reliable for our passengers. We will be lifting the structure and track on each side, so that we can keep the line out of the water during the flooded conditions.”
Alexia Course, Transport for Wales’ director of transport operations, said: “We’re delighted to see Network Rail taking this vital step in improving the resilience of the Cambrian Line. This sits alongside our own investment in transforming services throughout the Wales and Borders network, including brand new trains and extra services for the Cambrian Line in the years to come. We’re working collaboratively to ensure minimal disruption for our passengers while work is ongoing. As our services will be affected, it’s important for anyone travelling on the Cambrian Line to check before you travel, in case of any changes to our timetables.
A spokesperson for the Growing Mid Wales Partnership said: “The Growing Mid Wales Partnership welcomes the investment by Network Rail in the Cambrian Line at Black Bridge, Machynlleth. The Cambrian Main Line is a strategic rail corridor for Mid Wales, and we welcome investments that will help minimise disruption of services and provide a reliable service for residents in the long term.”
The bridge goes over the River Dulas in Powys, which is a fish spawning river. This means there is a limited time period when Network Rail can carry out the resilience work. Network Rail is working in collaboration with Natural Resources Wales and ecological specialists, doing everything possible to protect the sensitive local environment.
Network Rail’s contractors Amco Giffen will begin preparation work from the end of March.