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Barmouth Bridge anniversary celebrated with special train service

Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

A special train service from Shrewsbury to Pwllheli will be put on later today to mark the 150th anniversary of the historic Barmouth Bridge.

Passengers are being invited to travel on-board a locomotive pulling Riviera Mark 1 carriages along the scenic route.

The wooden viaduct has an extraordinary history having survived two world wars and coming under threat from a live naval mine.

Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

It opened in 1867 and was designed by Benjamin Piercy and Henry Conybeare.

The decision was made to build it out of timber as it was cheaper to import by sea than iron.

It originally included a drawbridge to allow tall ships to pass through. This was later replaced by the current swing bridge section.

Over the years, the bridge provided a mode of transport for many despite dwindling passenger numbers. A toll was introduced for foot and cycle traffic but was abolished in 2013.

Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

It was in 1980 that the future of the wooden structure was left in doubt. British Rail discovered woodworm had eaten into 69 of the pillars with an estimated repair cost of £2.5million.

While many of the services were relocated, Gwynedd Council didn't want to entirely close the bridge due to it being a popular tourist attraction for the area.

Instead, the government applied for a grant to cover the costs of the repair work and further money was spent on improving signalling. It was closed for six months while the work was carried out.

The maintenance costs of the bridge still proves problematic to the council - with an estimated £40,000-a-year maintenance outlay.

Despite this, the viaduct remains a popular attraction with many tourists and is considered one of the most scenic routes through North Wales.

Here's some fun facts about the Barmouth Bridge.

  • It's a Grade II listed structure
  • It's around 699 metres long
  • It contains 113 wooded trestles supported by a series of cast iron piers.
  • It is one of the longest timber viaducts still standing in Britain