Network Rail has removed soot weighing 40t from the Severn Tunnel.
It was a job even the most muscular chimney sweeps could not match.
Network Rail has removed 40t of soot from the Severn Tunnel in preparation for a six week project to improve the 130-year-old tunnel.
A closure is set to take place between 12 September and 21 October 2016 to allow the upgrade work to take place. It will see 200 workers install 13km of conductor rail in the 6.4km-long tunnel.
The work is to electrify the line in preparation for an electric train rollout in 2018. A custom-made drilling rig was used during the soot removal work to prepare holes for anchors to secure the electricfication equipment.
Network Rail Wales area director Dan Tipper said: “It was initially anticipated that around 4t to 5t of soot would be cleared, but the build-up of soot was greater than anticipated, and the team of engineers have removed over 40t. Removing the build-up of soot is an essential element of the extensive programme of preparation work that is taking place.
“The team has been working extremely hard every Saturday night since February as we deliver an essential phase of the work to upgrade the tunnel in preparation for a fleet of electric trains to run. Once this work is finished we will undertake an extensive six-week project to install the new electrical equipment. Wales is open to passengers and freight traffic during the upgrade but we are urging people to check before they travel.”