(Photo from Network Rail)
The Cambrian Coast railway is now re-opened with trains again able to run the full length of the line following completion of the railway part of the new bridge at Pont Briwet just south of Penrhyndeudraeth.
The entire line was forced to close following the severe storms in January. The southern section reopened in stages during the spring following repairs to the sea defences at Tywyn and Barmouth, but until now trains had been unable to run north of Harlech due to the ongoing bridge reconstruction work.
The reopening means that Porthmadog, Cricceth and Pwllheli are once again connected to the main line rail network, although it was still possible to reach Porthmadog via the narrow-gauge Ffestiniog Railway.
The fact that there was never any doubt over the line’s future says something abou the change in political climate towards rail over the past couple of decades. Back in the early 1970s the line was under thread of closure; indeed it got as far as closure notices posted at stations. At the end of the decade the future again hung in the balance as the mile-long Barnouth Bridge was being eaten by worms. But today, although it still runs at a loss, it’s recognised as being an important part of a regional economy that relies heavily on tourism.