THOUSANDS of tonnes of rock have been brought in to battle flood damage in a multi-million pound scheme of works to a Herefordshire railway line.

Network Rail said it had undertaken the multi-million-pound investment on the railway between Hereford and Abergavenny after an increase in extreme weather over the past two years, has seen several washouts on the Marches Line, causing short notice closures, lasting up to seven days.

Closing this vital stretch of railway between Newport and Shrewsbury has a big impact on passengers and freight as many people use this line to reach other parts of the UK, including: Manchester, Birmingham and North Wales, a Network Rail spokesperson said.

Engineers have installed half-a-mile of rock armour and refurbished under track drainage culverts between Hereford and Abergavenny.

Ten trains were used to carry more than 8,000 tonnes of rock sourced from Machen Quarry in South Wales to the work site.

The £4m work began in May 2021, with the first phase of the project completed in November. Further work will commence in Spring 2022, with more rock armour to be laid to future-proof the line against climate change.

Network Rail said it had worked collaboratively with local landowners, Natural England and the Environment Agency to ensure that all necessary steps were taken to reduce impact on natural wildlife and the environment.

Alex Hinshelwood, programme manager at Network Rail said: “We know that rock armour works, as we’ve seen it in action on the Conwy Valley Line, where recent flooding left the line closed for hours, instead of days.

“This is a huge benefit for passengers with less disruption to their journeys.

“We are dedicated to improving resilience across the Wales and Borders route and what we’ve installed here will protect the future of this stretch of railway for many years to come.”