Restoring Barmouth Viaduct

We have completed upgrading the iconic Barmouth Viaduct.

This was the biggest restoration of Barmouth Viaduct in its history. The work was split over four years to carefully restore the 156-year-old, grade II* listed structure, back to its former glory and protect it for generations to come. 

Photo from the Celebration event in December 2023 – Credit: Dominic Vacher

Have train services resumed and the footpath re-opened? 

The Cambrian line between Machynlleth and Pwllheli fully reopened to train services on Saturday 2 December after teams worked seven days a week during a 13-week closure to safely complete the final phase of works. 

The walkway next to the viaduct has also reopened for pedestrians since Saturday 2 December. 

Our work in 2023 

Last autumn, we strengthened the north abutments and upgraded additional timber elements, the team focused on the metallic structure, completing the intricate task of moving two 160-tonne spans. reconstructed the metal sections of the bridge.  

This work included removing the two old metallic spans, which weighed 160 tonnes each. Due to the complexities and challenges of this task, a mock manoeuvre was carried out in August to streamline the process ahead of the real move in September. 

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 was then 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.    

Once the restoration work was completed, work began to renew 297m of track near the toll house on the northern side and replace 1,100m3 of ballast (track stone) to ensure the safety of services crossing the viaduct over the Afon Mawddach. 

What work has been carried out since 2020?

At over 150 years old, the viaduct was 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. 

Photo timeline 2020 – 2023

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