Network Rail Announces Multi-Million Investment to Protect Critical Wales and Borders Transport Link

Network Rail has announced a 25 million GBP (29.09m euros | 33.7m USD) plan to rescue the Newport-Gloucester line, which connects south Wales with the west country, midlands and north of England.

The line is also an important diversionary route, maintaining a direct rail link between south Wales and London when the Severn Tunnel is closed.

Severn estuary drone shot
Severn Estuary

Running alongside the Severn Estuary, the line is particularly exposed to rain, wind and sea, and more frequent extreme weather has seen it devastated by five major landslips in the last two years alone.

This has led to extended closures 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. The route also serves ‘Tesco trains’, keeping supermarkets stocked with supplies.

Work on the project, which represents the biggest investment in the Newport-Gloucester line since it opened in the 1850s, will begin next summer.

This will entail removing over 30,000 tonnes of material from the cliff face and installing a mesh and bolt system – using 1,000 soil nails and 9,000 metres of mesh – alongside three miles of track.

This will stabilise the rockface and prevent landslips from affecting the track below.

Bill Kelly, Route Director, Network Rail Wales and Borders said:

“We've seen a huge increase in extreme weather events across our network in recent years. Climate change is happening here and now, and across Wales and Borders we’re responding by building a more resilient railway.

“As well as saving taxpayers’ money and reducing delays for passengers and freight – we’re protecting this vital Welsh transport link for generations to come.”

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