Train services have today restarted on the Cambrian Coast railway between Harlech and Pwllheli following the storm-disrupted rebuild of a key bridge.
The 150 year-old Pont Briwet wooden bridge over the Afon Dwyryd near Llandecwyn replaced with a modern structure.
The European Regional Development Fund, Welsh Government, Network Rail and Welsh transport consortium Trafnidiaeth Canolbarth Cymru co-funded the £20M scheme, which Gwynedd Council managed.
The project also involved line speed improvement work across the new bridge as part of plans to deliver faster journey times on the route.
With the rail bridge now complete, trains are now able to run the entire Cambrian Coast line for the first time since late 2013.
Network Rail’s route managing director for Wales Mark Langman said: “Now Gwynedd Council has completed the rail section of Pont Briwet, we are thrilled that services can now resume all the way to Pwllheli. I’d like to thank the communities for their patience while the work has been carried out.”
The upper section of the Cambrian Coast railway closed between Harlech and Pwllheli in November 2013, shortly after the £20M bridge-replacement project got underway, so work to replace the structure could be conducted safely.
Damage on the line was then exacerbated after ferocious winter storms caused widespread damage. The lower section of the line – between Dovey Junction and Harlech – closed in January, after storms and tidal surges caused severe damage to the rail infrastructure.
The railway was quickly opened between Dovey Junction and Barmouth, with more substantial works needed at Llanaber. Following a £10M programme to repair the damage, the railway opened between Barmouth and Harlech in May.
Work continued at Pont Briwet through the summer.