Network Rail has announced the early reopening of the Abergavenny to Hereford line.
It was closed on Saturday 26 October 2019, after a train driver reported fast flowing water shortly before 13:00 near Pontrilas. The flash flooding went on to wash away the railway’s foundations, leaving sections of track suspended in fresh air.
Once the floods had abated, engineers worked around the clock to repair the line at six separate locations north of Abergavenny, replacing 500 tonnes of ballast and 300 tonnes of track foundations that were washed away. They also had to repair drainage systems and fencing that were significantly damaged.
Meanwhile, to minimise disruption for passengers, Transport for Wales was able to get some services from Newport to Abergavenny and back, and also laid on an additional coach service between Newport and Hereford.
The original estimate was that the line would reopen on Monday 4 November. However, after the work went more smoothly than expected, the line will now reopen for a normal weekend timetable on Saturday 2 November.
In total, the work amounted to:
- The removal and replacement of sleepers at all washout locations
- The removal and replacement of 100 metres of track over 5 areas;
- Transporting to site and laying 300 tonnes of foundation materials;
- Transporting to site and laying 600 tonnes of ballast stones;
- Drainage and culvert inspections;
- Checks to signalling, power and telecom cables;
- Repairs to fencing to secure the line.
Announcing the early reopening, Bill Kelly, Network Rail’s route director for Wales and Borders, said: “The severity of the rain and flooding had a devastating impact locally so we put in place immediate plans to reopen the railway as quickly as possible.
“I would also like to thank to our team who worked around the clock in very challenging weather conditions to reopen this important line ahead of schedule.
“I am also grateful to our partners at Transport for Wales for keeping passengers moving while rail services were disrupted.”
Colin Lea, customer experience director of Transport for Wales Rail Services, added: “Transport for Wales is pleased that our colleagues at Network Rail are ahead of their work schedule and the line between Abergavenny and Hereford can now be reopened.
“I would like to thank all teams involved for their hard work and dedication, and also thank our customers for their patience over the last few days.”