Railway between Carlisle and Appleby to be closed for several months after major landslip: Appleby landslide 1-2

Friday 12 Feb 2016

Railway between Carlisle and Appleby to be closed for several months after major landslip

London North Western

The line between Carlisle and Appleby is to be closed for several months due to a major landslip involving an estimated 500,000 tonnes of earth.

The section, at Eden Brows on the Settle to Carlisle line, two miles north of Armathwaite, was closed by Network Rail on Tuesday (9 February) after aerial surveys and ground monitoring revealed the embankment had moved so much it was no longer safe to run trains.


The area of land affected by the landslip is more than 130m long and 70m wide.

Network Rail’s team of geotechnical specialists are carrying out detailed ground investigations using borehole equipment. The results of these comprehensive measurements will be used to design a lasting repair. At this stage it is not possible to provide an accurate timescale for the final repairs but it will take several months at least.

Martin Frobisher, Network Rail’s route managing director, said: “An estimated 500,000 tonnes of earth have moved already and the embankment is still moving. That's 10 times the weight of the QE2 ocean liner when it is fully loaded. The extent of this landslip means it is no longer safe for this section of railway to be open to trains.

“Our monitoring has detected a twist fault in the tracks caused by the ground movement. The slip is accelerating and it is not safe to run trains in this situation.

“Our engineers on site are undertaking detailed ground surveys and this will enable us to design a permanent and lasting repair.

“Network Rail's contractors have already started to build access roads and compounds so we can get our heavy machinery to where it is needed. This will enable us to start construction work as soon as the design is finalised.

“The River Eden has severely eroded the base of the embankment. This, combined with the recent repeated storms and saturated ground, caused the landslip.

“This is a vital rail link across the north of England and I am very aware of how important the railway is to the local community and local economy.

“I can assure everyone that we are doing all we can to design a lasting solution and to reopen the railway as quickly as possible. We will continue to work with Northern Rail to keep passengers and communities informed of what we are doing and the progress we are making.”


Alex Hynes, managing director for Northern Rail comments: “This is clearly another challenging and complex engineering project for Network Rail to tackle. While their engineers assess the extent of the work, we will continue to ensure our customers are kept on the move, up to date with the latest information and that disruption is kept to a minimum.


“We will be operating train services between Leeds and Appleby with a replacement bus service running between Appleby and Carlisle. Timetable information will be available on our website. Please check www.northernrail.org for the latest news.”

The latest travel information is also available at www.nationalrail.co.uk.  

Contact information

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Network Rail press office -London North Western route
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