The railway network has suffered the consequences of a very wet winter, with some sections of line closing for several weeks. In North Wales, the Conwy Valley branch has been out of action since the 27th December due to the effects of severe flooding.
Since then, a small orange army, brought together by contractor Alun Griffiths, has been helping Network Rail to bring closer the restoration of train services. Around 1,200 tonnes of material had to be excavated and removed before a partly-failed embankment near Llanwrst could be reinstated. Just to the south, a rail crane was used to lift out a concrete bridge slab, allowing retaining walls to be rebuilt. And 1,000 tonnes of new ballast was brought in to repair one-and-a-half miles of railway where 100 ballast washouts had occurred.
The Conwy Valley line has always been susceptible to flooding, running close to the river for much of its length. A lot has been done to improve it over recent years, but increasing the infrastructure’s resilience to severe weather events will become an ever-greater challenge as they become more frequent.
The immediate focus though is on the recovery works. These are now well advanced and it’s hoped the line will reopen at the end of February.