Closure for bridge repairs set to last until June

Network Rail has issued an update on its plans to repair the Nuneham Viaduct and reopen the Oxford-Didcot line to trains in June.

The route was closed on Monday, April 3, for safety reasons after monitoring equipment detected movement in the structure of the bridge, which takes the line over the River Thames between Radley and Culham.

As a result,  GWR trains on the Cotswold Line cannot run to and from London Paddington for the time being.

The rail infrastructure company and specialist contractors now working to replace the southern abutment of the structure, which has been affected by subsidence, and stabilise the central piers in the river. A piling rig mounted on a barge has been brought in to help with the work.

Stuart Calvert, Network Rail’s capital delivery director, said: “Our teams have been working 24/7 since the line has been closed to determine how best to repair the structure, so that we can run trains across the viaduct safely once again.

“We can now confirm that we’re working towards a reopening date of Saturday,  June 10, and will be replacing the old southern support structure in order to start running trains safely again.

“We are sorry for the disruption this has caused for passengers and advise them to continue to check before they travel.”

During the closure, Cotswold Line trains are running to and from Oxford, where passengers can connect with Chiltern Railways services to travel to and from London Marylebone. Buses are replacing trains between Oxford and Didcot Parkway, where passengers can connect for trains to Reading, other stations in the Thames Valley, and CrossCountry trains to and from the South Coast.

A near-normal GWR timetable is operating between Oxford, Worcester, Great Malvern and Hereford, although there are some gaps at times, because a limited number of trains each day are being diverted to run between London Paddington and Worcester Shrub Hill on the route via Stroud and Cheltenham. Passengers should check train times using online journey planners before travelling.

GWR managing director Mark Hopwood said: “It’s very disappointing that this key route will be out of action for some time, but it’s important Network Rail are given the time to make the necessary repairs.

“We at GWR are working hard with our colleagues at CrossCountry and Chiltern to ensure we can give passengers as many journey options as possible and will continue to see what more we can do over the coming weeks to improve that situation.”

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