Wednesday 18 Oct 2017
Rock armour protecting the Settle-Carlisle line from Britain's topsy-turvy weather
- London North Western
Huge boulders are being used to protect Britain's best-loved railway from the storm-swollen torrents of the River Eden in Cumbria.
Running 70 metres above the river is the iconic Settle-Carlisle line, which was forced to close for more than a year in February 2016 after a 500,000-tonne landslip requiring the most complex and largest railway repair in Network Rail's history.
As part of the final phase of its £23m repair, Network Rail's orange army has packed 20,000 tonnes of "rock armour" into the banks of the River Eden to guard against erosion caused by future heavy rainfall.
Such erosion triggered last year's land slip at Eden Brows, just north of Armathwaite, near Carlisle. The line reopened in March this year after more than a year of work to secure a vast concrete track base into the steeply-sloping bedrock of the Eden gorge using 226 20-to-30-metre-long steel piles.
Now if the earth gives way at this location in future, the railway will not. With the railway secured, Network Rail have since installed rock armour for added resilience.
Martin Frobisher, managing director of Network Rail’s London North Western route, said: “The future of this vital economic artery through Britain’s most beautiful landscape is secure, thanks to the work of our brilliant orange army.
"With the major repair completed earlier this year, the rock armour gives this location a further layer of resilience against the increasingly topsy-turvy British weather."
In addition to the rock armour, silt booms and new drains have been installed into the foot of the embankment. This final phase of the Eden Brows repair is set to be completed in March 2018.
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.