Tuesday 23 Feb 2016
Team of 80 prepares for repairs to major landslip on Settle to Carlisle railway line
- London North Western
A team of 80 people from Network Rail, including geotechnical and engineering experts, are carrying out extensive preparatory work ahead of repairs to a 500,000 tonne landslip on the Settle to Carlisle railway line.
Network Rail is examining all possible long-term solutions to the problem – a challenge made doubly complex by the landslip’s size, the fact it’s still moving and its inaccessible location.
On the ground at Eden Brows, the scene of the slip, 40 of the orange army are building access roads across farmland, setting up a site compound, removing vegetation and taking soil samples to fully understand the underlying ground conditions.
The affected section of embankment, two miles north of Armathwaite, is more than 130m long and 70m wide. Some 500,000 tonnes of earth is still moving down one side of the Eden Gorge towards the River Eden.
The much-loved Settle to Carlisle line is likely to remain closed north of Appleby for several months but, once a single engineering solution is finalised, this preparatory work will enable a swift start to repairs.
Rhiannon Price, Network Rail project manager, said: "Around 500,000 tonnes of earth in the embankment supporting the railway is still on the move downhill towards the River Eden.
"Since our monitoring systems detected significant movement on 9 February our geotechnical and engineering experts have been considering all the possible repair options. We have not yet agreed on the best final engineering solution but we hope to have that soon."
Richard Morris, chairman of the Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line, said: "This iconic line goes through some of the most beautiful landscape in Britain - not least the Eden Gorge. It is also of national strategic importance. There is a big problem for Network Rail at Eden Brows. We recognise the scale of the problem and the time it is likely to take to fix it. We are working closely with Network Rail to achieve the very best outcome."
Northern Rail is operating trains between Leeds and Appleby and replacement bus services between Appleby and Carlisle.
Alex Hynes, managing director for Northern Rail, said: "This is clearly another challenging and complex engineering project for Network Rail to tackle. While Network Rail engineers assess the extent of the work, we are working to keep our customers on the move and up to date with the latest travel information.
"We are focused on maintaining a reliable service for the customers we serve around Armathwaite and keeping local businesses and communities connected with nearby towns and cities.
"We are operating train services between Leeds and Appleby, with a replacement bus service running between Appleby and Carlisle. Timetable information is available on our website and from National Rail Enquiries. Please check www.northernrail.org/settlecarlisle for the latest news."
To keep up to date on this issue:
· The repair work: www.networkrail.co.uk/carlisle
· Train / replacement bus timetables: www.northernrail.org/settlecarlisle
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 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 36,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.