Network Rail is thanking passengers for their patience and understanding today after the completion of work to renew the track inside the historic Dinmore Tunnel on the Marches line.
A planned reduced service had been operating on the line between Newport and Shrewsbury since the evening of Saturday 23 September, following 11 days of round-the-clock work during a temporary closure of the line between Hereford and Shrewsbury.
The line fully reopened this morning (Friday 29 September) after engineers finished their work to replace the track, drainage and ballast in the London-bound side of the tunnel, which was built in 1853.
A team of 450 staff worked a total of 16,600 hours to replace 1,016 metres of track, 1,217 metres of drainage and 4,333 tonnes of ballast – the stones that support the track.
The new track will boost reliability of journeys on the Marches line – an important rail link that connects South Wales to the Midlands and beyond.
Network Rail project director Brian Paynter said: “We would like to thank our passengers for their patience and understanding while this essential work took place.
“Unfortunately, the line between Hereford and Shrewsbury was closed for longer than planned when work near the tunnel overran on the 22 and 23 September and we would like to apologise for the additional disruption this caused.
“We’d also like to thank our lineside neighbours for their patience while we worked close to their homes around the clock to safely complete the track renewal, which will secure the future of this vital transport link.
“The next time we return to renew this stretch of track, we expect it to be around the tunnel’s 200th anniversary in 2053.”
Follow-up work in the tunnel will take place on Saturday nights between 30 September and 19 November, which includes using engineering trains to consolidate the new track stone.
Image credit: Network Rail