'Iconic' 156 year-old Barmouth Bridge re-opens after 4-year restoration

The iconic Barmouth bridge has been re-opened after a 4 year restoration.The 156 year old viaduct had its timber and metallic parts replaced in the £30m scheme funded by the UK Government. It was the biggest facelift in its history.There has been a huge amount of disruption in north Wales for locals and visitors with the train line closed for the past 13 weeks.

The Grade II listed bridge normally carries trains on the Cambrian Coast line over the Mawddach Estuary, but for more than three months, locals had to do without the service.

Over the years the timber elements of the bridge had decayed significantly. A large proportion of the metallic elements had also corroded which meant major improvements were needed.

The UK Government funded the £30 million pound restoration project and it was carried out by Network Rail, who thanked everyone involved for their “perseverance and support".

The reopening has been described by the Mayor of Barmouth as "very important."

Owain Pritchard said: "[It's] very important to us from an economic perspective for us to be able to travel easily on rail out of the area and back again.

"For local businesses as well, who are reliant on extra business from visitors coming in and out of the area too, the Mayor said.

Fay Jones MP, Wales Office Minister said it's "critical" that the UK Government invests in rail infrastructure across North Wales.

She said: "What we've heard today about how the bridge has been restored in incredibly challenging circumstances is a real reflection of the hard work of everyone involved in this.

"I think it's absolutely critical that the UK Government invests in rail infrastructure projects right across North Wales that's demonstrating our commitment to every single part of Wales.

"This is an iconic bridge that means so much to everybody, it means so much to everyone, such a symbol of the area.

"Taking a bridge built in 1867, the pinnacle of Victorian engineering and using 21st century methods to reconstruct it is absolutely phenomenal. It's a huge piece of work, 20,000 bolts were drilled in by hand."

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