Settle to Carlisle line on track for March reopening
Considerable progress has been made on plans to reinstate the iconic Settle to Carlisle railway ahead of its scheduled reopening next month.
The railway was closed in February last year after flooding to the River Eden in Cumbria caused 500,000 tonnes of earth under the railway to slip on 31 January 2016, meaning that the tracks fell 2.5 metres below their normal level.
The £23m repair work involves engineers driving two rows of high-strength piles (steel tubes filled with concrete) into the bedrock of the Eden gorge, north of Armathwaite – something that engineers hope will futureproof the track in the area.
Network Rail has installed a large number of the piles and work has started on laying the concrete slab that will create a platform for the track to sit on – throughout February a further 3,000 tonnes of concrete is also being delivered to the site to be used in the steel tubes.
The works were initially announced in March last year by the infrastructure owner as it warned passengers that the line would remain closed for months, although today’s update will come as a relief to many who have been forced to use a replacement bus service whilst the tracks were being fixed.
Rhiannon Price, project manager for Network Rail, who will feature in the Feb/March edition of RTM, had positive words for the works: “The project continues to progress well, with more of the important work completed.
“This complex repair job has taken months to plan we are now focused on reopening the line to Carlisle, which is on schedule for 31 March.”
Once this work is finished, Network Rail will move on to improve the earthworks at the foot of the embankment below the line and above the River Eden. These works will create drainage ditches and rock armour to guard against erosion when flooding causing flows to be high.
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