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Restoring Barmouth Viaduct

We’re upgrading the iconic Barmouth Viaduct

We are carrying out the biggest restoration of Barmouth Viaduct in its history. Our £30m upgrade will protect the well-loved bridge for generations and maintain its magnificent appearance.

What the work will involve

At over 150 years old, the viaduct is in poor condition. Many of the timber elements of the viaduct have decayed significantly over time and a large proportion of the metallic elements have corroded.

Our programme will see us completely restoring the viaduct in a way that doesn’t threaten its industrial heritage and its Grade II* listed status. This means that we will replace its components on a ‘like-for like’ basis so that it retains its magnificent appearance. We will be carrying out additional work during our £30m restoration to the iconic landmark, including replacing all the timber main beams.

To reduce the impact of our work, we’ve carefully planned for it to take place over several years. We’ve also carefully planned the work to avoid the busy summer season when tourism in Barmouth and the local area is at its height.

Our engineers working on the 154-year-old bridge during phases one and two found it to be in a much worse condition than originally anticipated. So to allow us to carry out some additional crucial work (including strengthening the north abutments and upgrading some additional timber elements) but minimise the impact on the local community, we took two shorter closures of the line instead of a single extended closure of the viaduct throughout autumn 2022.

Our plans for autumn 2023

This autumn, we will carefully reconstruct the metal sections of the bridge. We will also renew the tracks near to Barmouth Toll House, on the northern edge of the viaduct. 

This includes removing the two old metallic spans, which weigh 160-tonnes, each. Due to the complexities and challenges of this task, a mock manoeuvre was recently carried out to streamline the process ahead of the real move, this Autumn.   

The practice operation took place on a purpose-built mock railway track, just outside Barmouth, and involved a team of 15 engineers testing the cantilever and jack system, which will be used to lift the span onto the viaduct.  

With one newly fabricated span weighing the same as an average adult blue whale, teams had to utilise more than 16 jacks – ranging from 20 to 100 tonnes capacity – as well as six rail trailers to carry out the technical move.   

Now that the trial is complete, Network Rail and Alun Griffiths have begun preparing for the final move, where two metallic spans will be lifted onto the viaduct and transported via rail, to its new home, on the northern end of the bridge. 

When is the railway closed? 

We need to close the railway this autumn for 13 weeks to carry out this work safely: 

  • Saturday 2 September to Friday 24 November – During the 12-week closure of the railway, we will be working to refurbish the metal sections of the bridge. 
  • Saturday 25 November to Saturday 2/Sunday 3 December – We need to replace the tracks near to Barmouth Toll House, on the northern end of the viaduct, so are planning to do this during this period.  

Unfortunately, we cannot renew the tracks during the 12-week closure as engineering trains need to be able to get onto the viaduct throughout this time. Please be aware these dates may change.

Will the footpath remain open? 

To keep everyone safe we will need to close the footpath across the viaduct from Thursday 31 August to Sunday 3 December.  

We’re sorry for any disruption that this will cause but the safety of the public and our staff is our key priority. 

Changes to train services 

Buses will replace trains between Machynlleth and Pwllheli from Saturday 2 September and Friday 1 December so please check before you travel. Further information can be found at Transport for Wales, or on the TfW app.

For further information about our work, please download our frequently asked questions: 

Get in touch

If you have any additional questions or concerns about this work, please call our dedicated 24-hour national helpline on: 03457 11 41 41 or email

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