Phil Verster, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: "We are in the business of running trains yet this spoil slip has forced passengers onto buses for almost six months. I am grateful for their patience and understanding. I also thank freight customers who have been forced to take lengthy diversions to deliver essential goods upon which our economy relies.
"Because the rail line has been unavailable for so long we cannot run a full service from the first day the line is open. We are working closely with operators to reintroduce services as quickly and efficiently as possible. We will work with operators to give clear, timely guidance to passengers about which services are operating."
Safety regulations require all train drivers to have what is called ‘route knowledge’ of the lines they drive along. Because the line at Hatfield & Stainforth has been closed for so long, some drivers will have to re-learn the route in order to comply with safety standards. The area they need to re-learn is several miles long. This process is underway and will be completed as quickly and efficiently as possible.
A spokesperson for the train operators said: “It’s great to see work progressing well at Hatfield & Stainforth and I would like to echo the thanks to our customers for their understanding during this disruption. Working with our partners, we look forward to reintroducing services over a gradual period and then delivering the normal timetable from 29 July.”
Passenger services are likely to resume with both Northern Rail and First Trans Pennine Express running every two hours, supplemented with buses. Full details of the timetable will be published in the coming weeks.
Notes to editors
Work on site at Hatfield Colliery is not complete with engineers likely to remain on site until the end of the year. Their work has been meticulously planned to allow safe running of trains while it is completed. The spoil heaps continue to be monitored as a precaution.
Network Rail has deferred a number of engineering works to accommodate the services which were diverted during this disruption. However the company has also used the opportunity of the line at Hatfield being blocked to bring forward some engineering works. These include track work at Stainforth, embankment works and planned project works (see attached document for more details).
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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 1.5bn journeys by rail every year; an increase of 50% in a decade. We’re investing £38bn in the railway by 2019 to deliver more frequent, more reliable, safer services and brighter and better stations.