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Storm-battered Newcastle-Carlisle line shut for another month

The line between Newcastle and Carlisle could remain blocked for another four weeks as Network Rail engineers try to recover a section of track in Northumberland that has been battered by extreme weather.

Earlier this month, Carlisle passengers were once again advised of service disruption after persistent rain caused a second landslip near Hexham, in Northumberland. The rain caused about 140t of earth to slide onto the tracks near the country, but normal service resumed on 7 January.

Yet a second landslip, around a mile to the east of the first, happened less than two hours later, forcing the line to be shut off once again.

Failed slope at Farnely Haugh 11 JanFailed slope at Farnley Haugh

Engineers had to divert the water that was feeding the slip on the section between Prudhoe and Hexham, to ensure it stopped moving before they could start repair works. This week, they removed the trees from the slope and are making preparations to start removing the slipped earth and shoring up the embankment to stop it from moving again in future.

Overall, 25,000t of material must be excavated and removed from the site to repair the landslip, with engineers planning to remove the vast majority of this by rail. This will allow 200t to be removed per hour from the site.

Network Rail has also been collaborating with Historic England to protect the three Roman forts and possible Roman road buried in the fields just above the landslip.

aerial image of Farnley Haugh landslipAerial image of Farnley Haugh landslip

Route managing director at Network Rail, Rob McIntosh, said: “We know how disruptive this is for passengers and are working as quickly as we can without compromising safety on site.  If there is any opportunity to restore train services sooner then we will do so. 

“We will work with Northern Rail and other local stakeholders to make sure passengers have the best information available to help them to plan their journey.”

This is just the latest in a series of rail closures in the north of England after multiple storms battered the tracks, particularly around Carlisle. In early December, the northern section of the West Coast Main Line was submerged under eight feet of floodwater overnight, resulting in extensive damage to track and other lineside equipment.


Nickk   15/01/2016 at 17:04

It would appear that an extended Borders Rail link from Edinburgh right through to Carlisle might actually prove a good investment - it appears not much would be needed to cut off Scotland completely! One cannot forget Dawlish...

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