The Newport to Gloucester line has been plagued by landslides in recent years, seeing five major incidents recorded from 2020 to 2021 alone and causing extended closures, temporary speed restrictions and the delay of more than 200,000 trains. Network Rail’s resilience work program has been specifically designed to protect the line from landslides caused by extreme weather caused by climate change.
The project will see more than 30,000 tonnes of material removed from the cliff face before 27,000 square meters of mesh are put in place along three miles of track. The mesh will stabilize the cliff, preventing further landslides from affecting the track below.
In order to complete this essential work safely, the railway will see a temporary closure between Lydney and Gloucester for a period of seven weeks from 07:00 on Monday July 18 until 06:00 on Saturday September 3. Throughout the closures, buses will replace trains as follows:
Transport Services for Wales:
- Between Monday July 18 and Friday July 29 inclusive, buses will replace trains between Gloucester and Severn Tunnel Junction.
- Between Saturday July 30 and Friday September 2 inclusive, buses will replace trains between Gloucester and Lydney.
- Between Monday 18 July and Friday 2 September inclusive, CrossCountry trains will run Nottingham – Birmingham New Street – Gloucester with direct rail replacement bus services between Gloucester and Newport.
- Customers traveling between the Midlands and South Wales can travel using GWR train services via Bristol Parkway.
During the first two weeks of work, the temporary closure will also include up to Severn Tunnel Junction, allowing essential track renewal work to be carried out near Chepstow from Monday July 18 to Saturday July 30.
The majority of the work is expected to take place during school holidays so that pupils who depend on the line to get to school do not experience disruption.
Nick Millington, Acting Route Manager at Network Rail Wales & Border, said:
“We are already seeing the extreme effect of climate change on our climate, with the coastal and more exposed parts of the railway being heavily impacted. Keeping the railway safe is our number one priority and we are also working to secure the future of vital rail links, like this one, in Wales and across borders.
“I recognize that there is never a perfect time to close the railway, but we have done everything we can to minimize disruption to passenger and freight services while we carry out this work, which will make passenger travel much more reliable in the future.”
Engineering contractors, Taziker, won the contract for the project and will work alongside Network Rail.
Steve Corcoran, Managing Director of Taziker, said:
“We are extremely proud to partner with Network Rail on this project.
“Our expert teams have created a works system that will not only protect the line for passengers from future landslides, but will also protect the local community and the environment while the works are being undertaken using green energy supplies. , investing in the local economy and minimizing disruption where possible.”
In order to reduce carbon emissions and noise pollution, Taziker will use 100% solar generators on site to power the wellness units, office cubicles and lighting. The money is also plowed back into the local economy, as 70 shift workers each day will have their lunch provided by Joshua’s Catering Company, based in Lydney.
Passengers are urged to check their travel plans in advance this summer using http://nationalrail.co.uk.