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Severn Estuary Resilience Programme

We have developed a £25m plan to improve the resilience of the Newport-Gloucester line which connects South Wales with the West Country, Midlands and north of England, providing a vital link for passengers. 

Running alongside the Severn Estuary - exposed to rain, wind and sea – more frequent extreme weather has seen the line devastated by five major landslips in the last two years alone. This has led to extended closures of the railway and temporary speed restrictions, delaying more than 200,000 trains. 

As well as disrupting passengers, this also impacts essential freight services, with 43 freight trains passing through every week, moving; steel, petrol, and construction materials. The route also serves ‘Tesco trains’, keeping supermarkets stocked with essential supplies. 

With the long-term viability of the line at stake, £25m is being invested to help protect the railway’s future. 

A state-of-the-art mesh and bolt system will then be installed throughout the three miles of track, stabilising the cliff face and preventing landslips from affecting the track below. 

In the meantime. we are monitoring and regularly inspecting areas at risk of landslips so that trains can safely continue to run with speed restrictions .

What does the work involve?

We will be working around the clock from Monday 18 July until Saturday 3 September 2022 on a three-mile stretch of the line between Lydney and Gloucester, close to Purton, Etloe, Little Hagloe and Awre in the Forest of Dean.

This means there will be increased activity and road traffic in the area over the summer, plus heavy machinery and engineering trains on the railway. We’d like to apologise in advance for any disturbance we may cause.

Ground investigation work has been completed and we have cut back vegetation, in line with ecological restrictions.

The work will include:

  • The removal of approximately 30,000 tonnes of material from the cliff face.
  • Replacing the existing mesh, using 26,700 square metres of new mesh.
  • From 2023 to 2025, we plan to continue the mesh and bolt system into lower-risk areas on this stretch.

This work follows the installation of netting and soil nails along 100 yards of cliff face at Little Hagloe – one of the highest-risk areas on the three-mile stretch.

In the run-up to work starting on 18 July, we will be installing our rail access points and compounds at the locations on the map below. The main compound will be next to Lydney station with a small compound at Purton and on the land next to Awre level crossing. There will also be two small compounds on the crest of the cutting.

Map of compounds and access points

When will the work take place?

To carry out this vital work safely, we need to temporarily close the railway between Lydney and Gloucester for seven weeks from 07:00 on Monday 18 July until 06:00 on Saturday 3 September 2022.

For the first two weeks, the closure will extend to Severn Tunnel Junction to allow essential track renewal work to take place near Chepstow from Monday 18 July until Saturday 30 July.

Changes to rail services

Transport for Wales

Between Monday 18 July and Friday 29 July inclusive, buses will replace trains between Gloucester and Severn Tunnel Junction. Between Saturday 30 July and Friday 2 September inclusive, buses will replace trains between Gloucester and Lydney.

CrossCountry

Between Monday 18 July and Friday 2 September inclusive, CrossCountry train services will run Nottingham – Birmingham New Street– Gloucester with direct rail replacement bus services running between Gloucester and Newport. Customers travelling between the Midlands and South Wales can travel on GWR train services via Bristol Parkway.

Please check before you travel by visiting National Rail or your train operating company.

During parts of the closure, we will open the line at night to allow freight to run, helping supplies to reach their destination.

Community information

Please download the below PDF to see the information boards that were available at our community drop in event.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about our work, please call our National Helpline on 03457 11 41 41 or email crwales@networkrail.co.uk

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