Tuesday 16 Apr 2019
Jumping sheep baa-red from the railway thanks to £50,000 dry-stone wall repairs
Network Rail is making sure ‘ewe shall not pass’ by restoring dry-stone walls along 11 miles of Cumbrian railway to stop sheep getting on the track.
Over the last year, Swaledale sheep cleared boundary walls 29 times, straying onto the iconic Settle-to-Carlisle railway line.
With services travelling through the area at up to 60mph, this puts the sheep in harm’s way and it risks delaying train passengers if trains hit the animals.
As part of a £50,000 scheme, Network Rail inspected thousands of metres of dry-stone wall before repairing sections of it.
Traditional methods were used to sympathetically fix the dry-stone walls to original standards between Risehill Tunnel and Garsdale.
Network Rail staff worked in all weathers to carry equipment, materials and stone to and from particularly steep and hard-to-access trackside locations.
Sally Deacon, asset engineer for Network Rail, said: “Sheep on the line is no woolly issue. It’s a real problem and more common than you might think. It causes cancellations and delays to important freight and passenger services across the North.
“We want sheep safely in their fields. And we want passengers moving safely and swiftly on their trains. This dry-stone wall work helps make that happen.
“We’ve worked closely with local farmers and the Yorkshire National Park to ensure our dry-stone wall repairs are in keeping with the local environment. This is to deter curious sheep from trespassing onto the railway.
Steve Hopkinson, regional director at Northern, said: “Our customers travel on the Settle and Carlisle line to take in the outstanding natural beauty of the area, but they certainly don’t expect to have their journeys interrupted by runaway ruminants.
“The vital work carried out by Network Rail will keep the sheep safe in their fields and allow our trains and customers to travel through the picturesque landscape without fear of delays caused by unwanted woolly trespassers.”
The work forms part of ongoing boundary fencing maintenance work carried out by Network Rail to keep the railway safe and trains running on time.
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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.
Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.