Rock armour protecting the Settle-Carlisle line from Britain's topsy-turvy weather: Eden Brows Rock Armour

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.

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