Transforming the railway in Wales

Transforming the railway in Wales

Published 1 March 2024 | Average read time
4 min read

Wales is home to some of our biggest and most exciting projects aimed at boosting the economy and giving you better journeys.

Catch up with our latest work …

Cardiff masterplanning

In December, we launched a masterplanning process around Cardiff Central station. The plans involve the design and redevelopment of more than 10 acres of railway land and the delivery of new homes.  

We’re leading this process and working with Cardiff Council, Transport for Wales and property developer Rightacres to regenerate and open up the site. We’ll also improve connectivity and give the area new homes in a new mixed-use neighbourhood to create a new entrance gateway for the Welsh capital.  

Barmouth Viaduct 

Our huge £30m restoration of Barmouth Viaduct in North Wales finished in December. 

It took four years to restore the 156-year-old Grade II* listed bridge to its former glory. 

Doing this work in one go – and closing the line to services for a long time – would have affected the community. So we deliberately planned the work across four years with four shorter line closures to reduce the effect on your journeys. 

One of our biggest challenges was moving two 160-tonne spans. One new span weighs the same as a blue whale so we used 44 jacks and six rail trailers.

And we replaced components on a like for like basis to retain the bridge’s appearance.

The viaduct is now fully open for journeys travelling along the scenic Cambrian coastline. You can even walk across it to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding countryside and coastline.

Ebbw Vale line

We finished a multi-million-pound upgrade to the railway between Newport and Ebbw Vale in February. We worked with the Welsh Government for two years to improve this major line. This included:

  • an additional platform each at Newbridge and Llanhilleth stations
  • a footbridge with lifts at Llanhilleth, making the station fully accessible for the first time
  • a new signalling system around the Park Junction area to help give you and freight more reliable journeys.

It’s all part of the significant investment to give you an hourly service between Newport and Ebbw Vale Town – the first direct services between the locations in more than 60 years. Direct hourly trains will continue to run between Ebbw Vale Town and Cardiff, effectively doubling the number of trains serving the valley.

Dovey Junction

We finished our refurbishment of the historic Dovey Junction in Powys, North Wales, in November – ahead of schedule.

The 360ft-long viaduct carries the railway over the Afon Dyfi, known as Dovey River in English. It runs through the homes of protected species, including ospreys and grey geese.

Work started on site in September 2022 and took eight months, with a pause between March and mid-August 2023 to lower the impact on wildlife.

The bridge was built in 1863 and has 15 pairs of wooden piles buried deep into the bed of the estuary that needed careful handling to avoid disturbing the wildlife living there.

We replaced parts of the wooden structure with a special material made from recycled waste plastic – glass reinforced plastic resin. It means the viaduct is more durable and needs less maintenance, reducing disruption to local habitats.

We also reused about 77 tonnes of timber removed from the bridge and donated about 90 metres of track panels to Gwili Railway, a heritage line. 

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