Line re-opens after damage caused by Storm Franklin

  • Thursday April 7th, 2022
1 1 Cambrian Railway Partnership

No one could have anticipated the extent of damage caused by Storm Franklin to the Cambrian Main Line, between Shrewsbury and Newtown, back in February of this year. The scenes were devastating to watch with areas of ballast having been washed away by the rise of the River Severn during the storm. The river rose 3.9 metres above the normal level and took ten days to recede before engineers could begin the mammoth job of repairing our railway.

engineers working on the Cambrian Line

It was initially believed that there were just 12 areas where ballast had been washed away however, on further investigation, a total of 33 areas were severely impacted and needed repair across a half-mile stretch of the railway. Network Rail engineers, working alongside contractors AmcoGiffen, worked around the clock to remove 3,000 tonnes of debris, lay 4,000 tonnes of new ballast, replace 800 metres of double track, plant new hedgerows and install new fencing and telecoms cables. Six weeks of 24/7 shifts and the work was complete, the railway was restored ready to welcome passengers again.

cambrian line ballast laid drone shot

Claire Williams, Community Rail Officer for the Cambrian Line Community Rail Partnership said: “We are delighted to see that the vital link for connectivity to Shrewsbury and beyond on the Cambrian Line has been resurrected in good time and in readiness for the high demand of services over the Easter holidays. We would like to thank our colleagues at Network Rail for their tremendous effort to reopen the line as soon as possible given the challenging conditions and devastation of the line outside Welshpool.”

You can read more and watch the footage of the repair work taking place here.

But what about the future for this section of the railway? How can we prevent this happening again? Well, while work was being carried out to repair the railway Network Rail announced millions of pounds of emergency funding for a resilience solution which will see rock armour installed along the embankment to prevent the stones from being washed away during extreme weather.  Read more about this rail resilience solution and ongoing work to protect other railway routes here.