Track and signalling


Scottish line reopens after 1,000-tonne landslide turmoil

The Fort William-Mallaig line in Scotland reopened this week after nine days of closure caused by 1,000 tonnes of rock and mud spilling onto the track.

The initial disruption occurred last Sunday and continued throughout the night until Monday morning after severe weather conditions caused landslides high in the mountainous terrain.

Following the initial incident, a train was then caught in the debris after it struck the area of the landslide, but engineers have now re-railed and removed the vehicle from the site and undertaken repairs of the track and surrounding area.

Glenfinnan Jan 26 3

David Dickson, ScotRail Alliance infrastructure director, said the operations went to plan despite some difficult and unusual circumstances.

“The isolated location, and steepness of the slope above, has made this a complex recovery operation and we are grateful to customers for the patience they have shown during this period of disruption,” he explained.

The Fort William-Mallaig incident was the latter of two landslide incidents caused by the sustained weather conditions, with the other occurring at Dinas Rhondda in Wales where around 150 tonnes of mud and stone had to be removed from the line.

Network Rail engineers have removed over 150 tonnes of debris from the line between Porth and Treherbert

Services between Porth and Treherbert were suspended for a number of days but opened again during the middle of last week.

Bill Kelly, chief operating officer for Network Rail in Wales and the Borders, who is writing for the next edition of RTM, commented: “We have worked hard to reopen the line as quickly and safely as possible, with the safety of our passengers and workforce a key priority.

“We have worked closely with our partners at Arriva Trains Wales to keep passengers moving during the closure. We would like to thank passengers for their patience while we delivered this urgent repair work.”

Network Rail recently completed work on a stretch of the West Coast Main Line between Watford and King’s Langley where a serious landslip occurred in September 2016.

The repairs cost a total of £4m and involved installing over 1km of rock netting, with work taking place over a 14-month period.

Images: Top and middle, Glenfinnan, Scotland. Below, Dinas Rhondda, Wales.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.


Steve   30/01/2018 at 15:06

Well done to the orange army working in tough conditions

Andrew Gwilt   30/01/2018 at 21:07

Well done Network Rail Orange Army.

Andrew Gwilt   30/01/2018 at 21:15

The remains of the landslide has left a scar can be seen by air where the landslide occurred.

Mark Stay   31/01/2018 at 01:19

Very observant Andrew, Sudbury line next?

Andrew Gwilt   31/01/2018 at 08:42

Mark. Shut up. Enough ok.

Add your comment


rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Five injured in Tube explosion

20/06/2018Five injured in Tube explosion

Five people have been injured in an explosion at a north London Underground station. A Metropolitan Police spokesperson confirmed that police we... more >
Strike news: guards row brings fresh strikes to Northern, South Western called off

19/06/2018Strike news: guards row brings fresh strikes to Northern, South Western called off

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union have walked out in a fresh dispute between the union and Northern Rail over a long-runnin... more >
TOC bosses appear before MPs, blame chaos on infrastructure failures

19/06/2018TOC bosses appear before MPs, blame chaos on infrastructure failures

Bosses from Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Northern Rail cited failures in infrastructure being completed in time and last-minute change... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

How biometrics can help improve health and safety measures on railway construction projects

20/03/2018How biometrics can help improve health and safety measures on railway construction projects

ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Biometric identity, time and attendance specialists Donseed looks at how biometric technology is already starting to enhance health and safety measures on railway construction projects. Advances in technology are starting to transform the way in which the rail network in the UK is managed, operated and maintained.... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Apprenticeship levy: the latest picture

05/06/2018Apprenticeship levy: the latest picture

Mark Holmes, head of membership and development at NSAR, describes the current resources available to the rail industry to ensure companies of al... more >
Moving in the right direction

05/06/2018Moving in the right direction

Alex Cropper, head of projects group at Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), reports on the exciting progress so far in building the Trafford... more >
Overcoming leaves on the line

05/06/2018Overcoming leaves on the line

Paul Gray, professional lead of engineering R&D at the RSSB, explains how latest research proves using double variable rate sanders on trains... more >
Rail: A woman’s world

18/05/2018Rail: A woman’s world

RTM’s Sacha Rowlands reports from a panel debate where six of the industry’s leading figures convened to discuss the fundamental issu... more >

rail industry focus

View all News


Transforming travel in the north west

06/02/2018Transforming travel in the north west

RTM’s Josh Mines talks to Robin Davis, head of new trains at TransPennine Express (TPE), about the huge rolling stock change journey the co... more >