Network Rail is close to completing work on a £48m project to replace the Loughor Viaduct near Swansea and redouble a 5.25-mile stretch of line running through Gowerton.
The Gowerton redoubling project, funded by the Welsh Government in partnership with the South West Wales Integrated Transport Consortium (SWWITCH), will remove the current bottleneck created by the stretch of single line and provide capacity to run more trains in the future.
The new deck has now been launched across the Loughor estuary and secured in its temporary alignment. The existing deck will be removed at Easter and the new deck slid into place.
Mark Langman, route managing director, Wales, said: “This project joins a number of other rail improvement projects in South and West Wales that will help deliver better journeys and boost economic growth in the area.
“The new viaduct at Loughor and the redoubling, as well as the new station platform and footbridge at Gowerton, are part of a package of station and infrastructure improvements as we strive to make rail travel more comfortable and attractive to the public.
“As well as making it easier to travel to and from West Wales, they will help to boost local employment and we would like to thank people for their patience while we improve the viaduct and lay a second track.”
Transport Minister Carl Sargeant said: “These improvements are excellent news for the population of West Wales as they will provide the capacity for a more frequent and reliable service.
“Better links between communities mean better access to employment, education training and leisure opportunities which is a key aspect of tackling economic and social deprivation, so I am delighted that the Welsh Government has contributed £25 million to these improvement works. I wish Network Rail well with the completion of the project and thank rail users and the local community for their patience during the works.”
From 24 March to 8 April, there will be a 16-day closure of the line between Swansea and Llanelli. This will enable engineers to finalise the works to redouble the track, provide a new platform and footbridge, and upgrade Duffryn level crossing and associated signalling and telecoms works.
Mr Langman added: “The nature of the work we’re doing to improve the railway means we can only complete the project by closing the line. We understand this has an impact on people’s journeys but the changes will give us a railway with greater capacity, meaning more trains in future and fewer delays.
“Passengers wishing to travel during this period should check with their train operator, as a combination of buses and trains will run between Carmarthen and Port Talbot Parkway, depending on the time and destination of journey.”