Network Rail planning to reroute railways in the north of Wales due to climate change
Network Rail is drawing up plans to reroute railway lines in the north of Wales which are expected to be swept away by climate change.
The main North Wales Coast Line runs close to the sea along much of its route, as does the Cambrian Line between Pwllheli and Aberystwyth in mid-Wales.
The arm’s length public body of the Department for Transport, which isn’t devolved to Wales, has begun drawing up a list of the lines that could be most impacted by climate change.
Tracks on the coast in the north of Wales, Devon and Cumbria are thought to be among the most at risk, according to the Telegraph.
Martin Frobisher, Network Rail’s director of safety and engineering, told the newspaper that they are ranking areas on their risk and conducting modelling over concerns that sea levels will rise.
“We either build sea defences on a scale that we haven’t seen before, we reroute lines that are close to the coast, or the country tolerates a level of reliability that’s way below what we get at the moment,” he said.
“The modelling that we’ve received shows a real point of inflection and real change in sea levels and coastal erosion. From 2050, we can see low lying railways being really exposed to coastal erosion.
“This is not something that gets into build within the 2020s but if you’re not building it by the mid to late 2030s, then you’re going to miss the date from the latest projections.”
Network Rail said that they put together a task force of experts to look at accelerating preparations following last week’s heatwave.
Last week the Welsh Government revealed that they would begin to outline a potential rail link between the south of Wales and Aberystwyth by 2027.
The Welsh Government’s National Transport Delivery Plan 2022 includes a list of ongoing projects, with plans to develop the case for the railway to Aberystwyth by 2025 and outline the design by 2027, although the document concedes that the planning stage may well move “beyond” that point.
The Plaid Cymru and Welsh Government cooperation agreement include a commitment to “ask Transport for Wales and other partners to explore how transport links between the north and south of Wales can be developed”.
These would include “how to protect potential travel corridors along the western coast of Wales from Swansea to Bangor”.
The transport document published this week includes amid its ongoing projects a “Swansea Aberystwyth Rail Link” with a commitment to “develop the case for change and option selection” between 2022 and 2025 and “outline design and powers” between “2025 to 2027 and beyond”.
The plan says: “TfW are developing outline plans for improving sustainable transport along travel corridors on the west coast of Wales.
“As part of this work they will identify any potential routes that will need to be reserved for potential future development.”
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