Latest Rail News

02.02.15

UPDATE: Landslip at Harbury closes Banbury to Leamington Spa line

No trains will run between Banbury and Leamington Spa for “several weeks” following a major landslip in the Harbury area at the weekend, Network Rail has confirmed. 

On Saturday 31 January, at about 3pm, there was an “extremely significant” landslip. First assessments show that about 350,000 tonnes of material will need to be removed. 

The landslip occurred near Harbury Tunnel in Warwickshire, the scene of a similar incident last year. According to Network Rail specialist engineers are currently assessing the landslide – which is still slowly moving – to determine the scale of the problem. 

Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “This is a massive incident and I am making sure we have all the resources we need to tackle this problem. Our safety precautions ensured the railway was shut before there was any risk to passengers. Looking forward, our focus is on making sure the site is safe before our engineers move any of the affected earthworks. 

“We know just how important this key route between Birmingham and London is, for both passengers and freight. This is a very deep cutting built back in Brunel's days which we have been repairing for some time. I can assure passengers whose journeys are being disrupted that we will do our utmost to restore their services as soon as possible. However, it may take several weeks to stabilise it before we can start some services." 

The affected line carries long-distance services for Chiltern Railways and Cross-County Trains, as well as substantial freight services. 

Rail replacement buses are running between Banbury and Leamington Spa, and passengers travelling between London and the West Midlands may use Virgin Trains and London Midland services between London Euston and Birmingham New Street. 

Chiltern Railways said that trains are running London Marylebone – Banbury; Leamington Spa – Birmingham Moor Street; and Leamington Spa – Stratford Upon Avon. 

A spokesperson for Chiltern Railways told RTM:  “Following a landslip on Saturday 31 January close to the Harbury tunnel on the Chiltern Mainline, Chiltern Railways is unable to run trains between Leamington Spa and Banbury stations. We expect this situation to continue while Network Rail engineers remove 350,000 tonnes of material from the site.  

“In the meantime, rail replacement buses are running between the two stations and passengers travelling between London and the West Midlands may use Virgin Trains and London Midland services.” 

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