Monday 7 Dec 2015
Extent of damage revealed as floodwater recedes on the West Coast main line near Carlisle
Network Rail’s orange army has swung into action to reopen the northern section of the West Coast main line after extensive flooding of the tracks receded overnight.
The railway north of Carlisle was under eight feet of floodwater on Sunday but levels had dropped by mid-morning today (Monday 6 December) to allow engineers access to the railway to begin to assess the extent of the damage.
A thick layer of mud and silt has covered vital safety-critical equipment in eight separate cabinets which were submerged in water for more than 24 hours. There has also been extensive damage to track and other lineside equipment as well as to fencing and buildings.
However many of the lines which were blocked over the weekend have reopened after hundreds of the orange army worked around the clock to clear landslips and damage caused by high winds and heavy rain.
Services are now running between Workington and Carnforth via Barrow; from Carnforth to Skipton; from Appleby to Carlisle; and on the West Coast main line between Preston and Carlisle.
Now the flood water has receded, the focus is on reopening the West Coast main line north of Carlisle. A clearer picture of timescales will emerge once safety checks and repair plans have been completed.
Debbie Francis from Network Rail said: “Now the floodwater has gone our track workers and engineers are on the railway to assess the extent of the damage. There is an inch-thick thick layer of mud on much of our safety-critical equipment and eight electrical cabinets have been submerged in water for more than 24 hours which will require a huge amount of work to rebuild and bring back into use.
“We have hundreds of staff working round-the-clock to keep as much of the railway open as possible. This will continue so we can reopen the West Coast main line as quickly as we can.
“We care about getting passengers where they’re going safely, and I’d like to thank them for their patience during this difficult time. As soon as there is more detailed information, we will make sure they are fully informed.”
There is still some disruption on certain lines notably between Settle and Carlisle; on the route north of Carlisle; between Carlisle and Workington; and from Carlisle to Hexham. Engineers are working to return services to normal as quickly as possible.
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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
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