Repair work on track as piling props up Thames bridge

Network Rail has issued a new update about the progress of repair work at Nuneham Viaduct between Oxford and Didcot.

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 Reading and London Paddington for the time being.

The rail infrastructure company and specialist contractors have completed a key phase of the work to support the viaduct’s deck sections, so that the southern abutment and the adjacent embankment, which were affected by subsidence, could be removed and replaced.

The picture, above, taken by specialist marine engineering contractor TMS Maritime, which has been working on the project, shows the south end of the viaduct with the old abutment and embankment removed.

The viaduct is now being supported by jacks which are standing on 15m long steel piles that were driven into the bed of the River Thames.

Work on new foundations for the replacement abutment will begin next week. Once this is completed and the embankment reinstated, the viaduct deck sections will be lowered to rest on it, before railway track is relaid across the viaduct.

The aim is to have trains running again between Oxford and Didcot from Saturday, June 10.

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. And a few peak-hour shuttle trains are now running on weekdays between Oxford and Radley and between Didcot Parkway, Appleford and Culham.

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 and replacement bus times using online journey planners before travelling.

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