Friday 12 Feb 2016
Railway between Carlisle and Appleby to be closed for several months after major landslip
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.
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.