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Bridge-strikes to 'hit peak' in the next month

A bridge strike at Bute Street Rail Bridge in Cardiff. Credit: Network Rail

Network Rail says thousands of rail passengers in Wales and the borders will suffer hours of delays and cancellations in the next month as 'bridge-strikes' - when a lorry that's too big hits a low bridge - reach their peak.

Technology is now being used on Bute Street rail bridge in Cardiff, one of the busiest railway bridges in Wales.

A remote bridge camera system has been installed. The new system will allow engineers to remotely monitor the structure when a strike occurs. This reduces the time it takes to confirm if any significant damage has been caused to the structure and it means trains can get moving again quickly once it has been established the structure is safe.

Network Rail has also been working with haulage companies to urge drivers to measure vehicles and plan their route to avoid bashing bridges as part the 'What the truck' campaign.

Every time a large vehicle strikes a rail bridge, it can cause inconvenience for thousands of passengers in Wales and the borders, as well as potential costs for taxpayers.

We work closely with our partners Arriva Trains Wales to get passengers on the move as quickly and safely as possible when an incident does occur, but we need HGV drivers and their employers to get on board with our initiative and make bridge strikes a thing of the past.

– Billy Kelly, Network Rail

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Railway 'closed until further notice' after Storm Doris damage

Network Rails says the Conwy Valley line will remain closed until further notice, after investigations revealed the extent of the damage caused by a tree falling on the line during Storm Doris last week.

Storm Doris hit Wales with gusts up to 94mph. Credit: Network Rail

The line has remained shut since Thursday 23 February, when a tree fell on the line and disturbed vegetation on the rock face next to the railway at Blaenau Ffestiniog.

The line has remained shut since Thursday. Credit: Network Rail

We’re working hard to repair the rock face and get the line reopened as soon as it is safe to do so. The safety of passengers and our workforce is our number one priority. Due to the challenging weather conditions following Storm Doris, we made the decision that it would be unsafe to access the site until a full assessment of the rock face had taken place.

The aerial investigation allowed us to assess the affected area safely, and we are now carrying out de-vegetation work on the rock face. Once this has been completed we will carry out a more detailed evaluation of the site and put an extensive repair programme in place.

– Chris Howchin, Network Rail Wales

Rail line between Barmouth and Tywyn reopens after viaduct fire

Credit: Network Rail

Network Rail says the line between Barmouth and Tywyn in North Wales has reopened after a fire on Barmouth Viaduct last week.

The fire caused localised damage to one of the viaduct spans last Tuesday.

A small amount of remedial works will take place over the coming weeks, with work taking place overnight and at weekends when trains aren’t scheduled to run.

The pedestrian walkway has not been affected by the fire and will remain open for the duration of the work.

An investigation continues.

I’d like to thank the passengers affected by the line closure for their patience while we carried out these essential repairs, and I’m pleased to hear that the line has now reopened.

Safety is our number one priority and unfortunately the damage caused by the fire meant that we had no option but to close the line to carry out this work.

Our engineers will also be working hard over the coming weeks to undertake further repair work to the structure but this will not affect rail services.

– Andy Thomas, Network Rail Wales

Suspicious item which brought rail chaos was not unexploded bomb.

Credit: Great Western Railway

A suspicious item which brought chaos to the South Wales rail network was not an unexploded bomb, Network Rail has said.

Services between Cardiff and Newport were delayed for hours, leaving scores of passengers forced to take replacement bus services because of the scare.

But rather than a potentially-deadly wartime relic, explosives experts determined the object was a type of excavation equipment, a Network Rail spokesman said.

All Arriva trains travelling between the two stops had been halted after the discovery was made at around 3.30pm by the tracks near Ebbw junction.

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