Monday 19 Sep 2016
Passengers on move again after Watford tunnel reopens
London Midland passengers were on the move again today through Watford tunnel after it reopened following last Friday’s land slip.
Two lines - one north, one south - were shut over the weekend as Network Rail engineers recovered two damaged trains and repaired the railway.
Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, said: "I’m pleased to confirm today we have reopened the both the lines through Watford tunnel and trains are running again.
"Our orange army engineers made good progress over the weekend. They cleared all the slip debris off the tracks and removed the damaged trains from the tunnel. They also repaired the railway, including replacing 50 concrete sleepers, and welded in new sections of track."
London Midland’s managing director, Patrick Verwer, said: “I would like to apologise for the disruption over the last few days. I would also like to thank our passengers. Everyone has shown great patience and understanding while many responded to our appeal to delay journeys or take alternative routes. This made it easier for people who had no option but to use the reduced services while Network Rail colleagues repaired the track.”
The slip on the embankment at the north entrance to the tunnel was hit by a southbound train on Friday, causing some of its front wheels to come off the tracks. Another train, which entered the tunnel heading north at the same moment, clipped the southbound train.
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 38,000 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.