WORK has started to remove around 1,000 tonnes of material from the cliff above the main Cardiff to Gloucester railway line near Lydney.

Network Rail and its contractor, AmcoGiffen, will be working raound the clock until Friday, August 18 to improve the resilience of the line.

Engineers are working on a one-mile-stretch of railway, close to Purton,as part of the Severn Estuary Resilience Programme (SERP).

An ‘active’ mesh system is being installed covering 19,500 square metres, secured by more than 5,000 rock bolts.

This system will hold the cliff face in position and help to prevent landslips from damaging, and subsequently, closing the railway.

The line is temporarily closed so Network Rail and AmcoGiffen can carry out this work safely and efficiently.

Transport for Wales and CrossCountry trains are affected, and a rail replacement service is in place.

Transport for Wales will replace trains with buses calling at all stations:

- Between Severn Tunnel Junction and Gloucester until Friday (August 4) – this is due to work being carried out on Chepstow viaduct

- Between Chepstow and Gloucester from Sunday, August 6 to Friday, Augus 11 and Monday, August 14 to Thursday, August 17

- Weekend train timetables are due to operate on Saturday, August 5 and on Saturday, August 12 to Sunday, August 13

Network Rail is advising passengers to visit for more information.

CrossCountry will replace all trains with buses between Newport and Gloucester, calling at all stations until Friday (August 4), Sunday, August 6 to Friday, August 11 and Monday, August 14 to Thursday, August 17.

Weekend train timetables are due to operate on Saturday, August 5 and on the weekend of Saturday, August 12 and Sunday, August 13.

If passengers are planning to travel between the Midlands and South Wales, they may wish to travel via Bristol Parkway. 

Network Rail is advising passengers to visit the CrossCounty website for more information.

Nick Millington, route director for Network Rail Wales & Borders, said: “The line between Newport and Gloucester is particularly vulnerable to landslips due to its exposed location along the Severn Estuary.

“We are seeing more frequent extreme weather events as a result of climate change, which is why we are prioritising resilience projects like this, to protect vital passenger and freight links in the Wales and Borders route.

“This investment will ensure fewer closures and speed restrictions in the future, providing passengers and freight customers with a more reliable service.

“I’d just like to thank everyone for their patience while we safely carry out this essential work.”