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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Study on reopening Amlwch rail line begins

A feasibility study to examine the prospect of restoring passenger services on the disused branch line between Llangefni and Gaerwen has started. Working with the Welsh Assembly Government and the Isle of Anglesey Council, Network Rail will begin the first stage of the study next week by examining the surrounding habitat of the abandoned line.

The Amlwch branch line was closed to passenger traffic in 1964, but remained in use for chemical freight until the early 1990s. Today, the route is heavily overgrown with vegetation since it was left disused.

As part of the study, the overgrown vegetation has to be removed to allow ecologists to study the natural environment along the branch line, so that rare plants and species can be identified and protected if the plan to re-open the line does go ahead.

Engineers will also be looking at 31 bridge and culverts, 4.5miles of track and earthworks as well as examine the feasibility of refurbishing the Llangefni station building and its disused platform.

Mike Gallop, principal programme sponsor, Network Rail said: “The Amlwch branch line has been disused for nearly two decades and bringing it back to passenger use will be tough. Today we are taking that first step, working together with the Welsh Assembly Government and the council, to see if it is possible to meet the aspiration of restoring services the line.

“For passenger trains to run on the line again, we may need to modernise the existing signalling system, repair and replace the disused track, bridges and culverts, which are no longer fit for purpose. The study will be vital to help us examine the feasibility and identify a cost-effective solution.”

The study is commissioned by Welsh Assembly Government to investigate the business case of introducing regular passenger services between Llangefni and Bangor.

If the scheme is delivered, it will improve rail connectivity to Anglesey and Bangor and will also encourage greater use of the rail network by linking Llangefni with the national rail network, reducing road congestions over the Menai Straits.

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