Contractors Jones Bros of Ruthin have placed almost 40,000 tons of fill material and armour stone, sourced from nearby Minffordd Quarry, to widen 260 metres of the 200 year old Cob Embankment which stretches for a mile across the Glaslyn Estuary.
The work will enable the construction of a second platform at the station, which opened to passengers in 1865, enabling a cross-platform interchange between Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland trains. At present, both railways have to share a single platform, which places severe operating restrictions on service levels.
Although most of Jones’ plant has now been removed from site, one excavator will remain for up to two weeks to work on a separate Environment Agency contract to carry out maintenance work on the original Cob beyond the widened section.
Later this year, when the widened section of the Cob has settled, contractors will return to level the surface, remove the existing wave wall and build a new one along the seaward side. Only then can a start be made on relaying track in the station area and the construction of a new island platform serving both railways.
All main line points and signals will be electrically-operated and a prototype point motor has already been installed for testing purposes. It is anticipated that work will be complete in late 2013 or early 2014 as the intensive service on both lines which starts at the end of March effectively precludes any significant civil engineering work before the winter.
The railway has produced a DVD – available from Harbour Station shop or by mail order - detailing the project and including stop motion footage covering the entire construction phase.