As the community comes together to celebrate the history of Barmouth viaduct this weekend, Network Rail is making plans to refurbish the renowned structure and protect its future.
Andy Thomas, route managing director for Network Rail in Wales, said: “Barmouth viaduct is one of the most iconic structures in the whole of Wales, connecting people for 150 years and boosting economic growth by bringing tourists to the area.
“We are working closely with Cadw and Gwynedd Council on our plans to refurbish the viaduct to secure its long-term future, so that it can continue to play a crucial role for the local economy for many years to come.”
Network Rail engineers are currently working on innovative plans to improve the Grade II* listed structure, which is the longest viaduct in Wales and crosses the estuary of the River Mawddach carrying the Cambrian line.
Development work is being undertaken now which would allow the multi-million pound project to begin in Network Rail’s next control period, CP6, which runs from 2019 to 2024.
Mike Tapscott, projects and planning director for Arriva Trains Wales, said: “Important infrastructure such as the Barmouth viaduct are lifelines for our local economies, and working together with our partners in Network Rail, are essential in enabling us to connect communities and support industries such as tourism.
“The history of the viaduct is indelibly linked to the history of the communities which it supports and it is important to commemorate this.”
Network Rail will be joining the local community to celebrate the anniversary with events across Barmouth this weekend.
At Barmouth leisure centre, there will be an exhibition of model railway displays of various gauges including a scale model of Barmouth viaduct. Network Rail will be hosting a pop-up information stand at the leisure centre with plenty of information and help on hand and Network Rail engineers will be working together with Gwynedd Council to give people of all ages the chance to learn how to construct a bridge.
The exhibition will run from 10am until 4pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
As part of a British Film Institute project, the Dragon Theatre will be showing the 1941 film ‘The Ghost Train’ which features Barmouth viaduct, along with other footage from the Britain on Film and British Transport archive collections. There also will be art displays, photograph exhibitions and memorabilia displays in the Arts Room/Community Rooms.
The celebrations will culminate in a laser and firework show on Saturday evening.