Barmouth viaduct is about to undergo a £25 million upgrade to bring it up to standard and to protect it for the future.
The Grade II* listed structure is the only major timber‐built bridge still in use on the British network. Located on the Cambrian Coast line, between Pwllheli and Machynlleth, in Gwynedd County Council and Snowdonia National Park.
Built in 1864, it carries the Cambrian Coast line across the Mawddach, between Pwllheli and Machynlleth, in Snowdonia National Park. It is 820 metres long, 700 metres of which is constructed from timber. It was originally built with a drawbridge on the northern end, but this was replaced with a steel swing bridge in 1900.
The work will include replacing a large number of the timber and metal elements of the viaduct, as well as the entire length of track. To reduce its impact, the work will take place over three years, with one short closures of the 19th century viaduct every year, rather than one longer full closure.
Preparation work will begin in June and the first closure is planned for this autumn, when the restoration of the bridge’s timber elements will begin.
Bill Kelly, Network Rail’s route director for Wales and Borders, said: “Barmouth Viaduct is one of the most celebrated and recognisable structures in Wales and is the only major timber-built bridge still in use.
“We are investing £25 million to give Barmouth Viaduct the biggest upgrade in its history, protecting our industrial heritage and ensuring this vital transport link can continue to serve local people and visitors, when the time comes, for generations to come.
“We have been working closely with Cadw (the Welsh Government’s historic environment service), Gwynedd County Council and other stakeholders over several years to develop our plans.”
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart, who is also Member of Parliament for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, added: “The Barmouth Viaduct is an iconic part of Wales’ railway heritage and I am pleased that it is benefitting from a portion of the £2 billion UK Government investment in the Wales and Borders network to preserve and upgrade it.
“The upgrades by Network Rail will secure the important link between Machynlleth and Pwllheli and protect a popular part of the Wales coastal route.”