Work on the viaduct itself starts in January 2020, once the Christmas and New Year services are over. We'll make the most of the annual six week shutdown period. The line between Kidderminster and Bewdley will remain closed until Easter 2020, although services will run between Bridgnorth and Bewdley.
Contractors will remove the track, ballast and sandstone rubble from the viaduct. They’ll install efficient drainage channels and add a modern, waterproof membrane before putting everything back together. Once the structure has properly dried out, damaged bricks will be replaced and the mortar re-pointed. The entire restoration will be completed by autumn 2020.
This extensive repair is urgently needed as water has seeped into the structure of the 142-year-old viaduct causing it to crack and erode. If we don't act very soon, we may be forced to reduce the length of trains, or even face temporary or permanent closure of the line. There is already a speed restriction in place across the viaduct.
Below, our Consultant civil engineer, Jonathan Symonds of David Symonds Associates, talks through the restoration process: