Caulmert’s design and planning expertise is supporting the Bala Lake Railway Trust’s (BLRT) plans to extend the railway into the centre of town.
This will not only provide a boost to the business but also build both a commercial and physical link between the town and the railway, helping to strengthen the tourist economy in Gwynedd and regenerate parts of Bala.
“It’s a tricky project with lots of different engineering challenges,” explained David High, the Caulmert associate who is the engineering lead on the project.
“The proposed route of the railway will be alongside a road and uses part of an existing road bridge to cross the River Dee. It will also be on top of an embankment providing flood protection to the town of Bala.
“Without the cooperation of Gwynedd Council and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) the project would not be viable.”
Convincing NRW that the project was no pipe dream was an important early objective for Caulmert, and the recently completed reservoir safety works incorporates a significant length of trackbed for the railway, with spectacular views of the country’s largest natural lake.
Like many projects in Wales, the planning application submitted earlier in the year came up against ‘the phosphates issue’.
David continued: “Clearly, we want to be sure that the project will not have an adverse impact on the River Dee. It is positive news that Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water have confirmed that there is capacity in the wastewater treatment works to accommodate the toiletry habits of the increased number of visitors the railway extension will generate.”
Work to resolve the other matters raised by the planning decision is ongoing and the re-submission will be made with confidence.
Although the extension is only 1.2km long it is not short of engineering challenges. A bridge over the River Dee will require widening, roads need diverting, and a new level crossing is required. The station building, which is in a conservation zone, is being designed to be in sympathy with the environment.
The team at Caulmert, with its variety of planning, environmental, and engineering disciplines is well equipped to assist in the delivery of the project through both the present planning and future engineering stage of the project.