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Grade II* Barmouth Viaduct timber refurbishment

Event organised by ICE

18 May 2023

This event has now ended

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At the heart of this project was the restoration of the historic Grade II* Barmouth Viaduct. The viaduct is the longest timber bridge in Britain, it is a single-track wooden railway viaduct across the estuary of the Afon Mawddach near Barmouth, Wales. It was constructed by the Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway between 1864 and 1867. It is 820 metres (900 yd) long and carries the Cambrian Line between Morfa Mawddach and Barmouth stations.

It has survived two world wars, a near-miss with a live naval mine in 1946, and an infestation of marine Teredo worms, which resulted in replacement of 48 piles and introduction of shrouds to piles to 73 of the 113 trestles carried out in a six month closure of the railway in the 1980s.

The viaduct has long been the heart of the local community. In addition to trains, the spans also carry a Gwynedd County Council owned footpath, used by pedestrians, and cyclists as part of National Cycle Route 8.

As part of a Network Rail £30m investment into the future of Barmouth viaduct, both the timber and metallic sections are to undergo major refurbishment works. The timber section of the works cost around £15 million and included a like for like renewal of the timber sections of the viaduct.

The presentation will detail the unique challenges faced with the extensive renewal of over 2500 key timber elements of this structure, it will detail the methods adopted and specific engineering challenges that had to be overcome to enable the successful refurbishment of all of the load carrying superstructure timbers and a significant proportion of the substructure timber.

The scheme was supported by numerous supply chain partners and stakeholders including timber suppliers Aitkin & Gilmour, Mabey hire, TXM, Trackwork , the designer Cass hayward, CADW and the local authority.

Steve Richardson, Operations Manager for Griffiths and Ben Perkins Scheme Project Manager for Network Rail will explain the background to and the reasons for these works.

Ben will explain the importance of the Cambrian Coast Line which connects remote coastal communities and the steps that have been taken to minimise disturbance to its users.

Steve will explain what has been and what remains to be done in order to complete the refurbishment of this vital regional transport link.


Ben Perkins

Ben Perkins

Network Rail

scheme project manager

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Ben Perkins

Ben Perkins works for Network Rail within the Capital Delivery Wales Renewals Teams. Ben is responsible for managing a number of civils project throughout design and delivery phases in the renewals portfolio. Ben has been scheme project manager on Barmouth viaduct since December 2021, overseeing completion of the timber phase and continuation of the development of the metallic phase of works.

Ben began his career at Network Rail in 2019 successfully completing the project management graduate scheme, working in various project management roles throughout the Wales and Western region. Ben is experienced in renewal, enhancement and track enhancement delivery of small and complex projects with varying value. Ben is a full member of the Association for Project Management (APM).