Since Tuesday 18 February, trains have been disrupted with longer journey times and some cancellations after one of the two tracks near Unstone was closed. It followed the extremely wet weather which resulted in the hillside above the railway becoming unstable.
Initial estimates indicated that services would be disrupted for four to six weeks. However work on site has progressed better than expected, aided by an improvement in the weather. Network Rail will use a piece of kit called the high output ballast cleaner to carry out intensive work overnight on Friday 7 into Saturday 8 March to dig out the ground which has pushed the track up, refresh the ballast, and allow the track to reopen.
Phil Verster, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: “I thank passengers for their patience while we complete essential work to stabilise this hillside. It is a testament to the hard work of the team on site that we will be able to re-start a service from this Saturday.”
“The work completed so far has prioritised making the track safe so that trains can run but work to fully stabilise the hillside will continue for several months yet. Trains will run at a slightly reduced speed past the worksite but this will not significantly affect journey times.”
Engineers are confident the work to stabilise the hill side can be completed without further changes to the timetable. The track which will be treated by the high output ballast cleaner will be carefully monitored. If any follow- up work is required, Network Rail will notify customers in advance and schedule the work to minimise disruption.
CrossCountry, East Midlands Trains and Northern Rail said: “We would like to thank customers for their patience and understanding during this disruption. We have been working closely with Network Rail to get the line re-opened and are pleased this has been achieved ahead of their original estimate."
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain’s railway – the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts, and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.6bn journeys by rail every year - double the number of 1996 - and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We’re investing £38bn in the railway by 2019 to deliver more frequent, more reliable, safer services and brighter and better stations.