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Flooded Carlisle-Scotland WCML services could reopen at midday

West Coast Main Line services between Carlisle and Glasgow Central/Edinburgh could restart as soon as midday today, despite being submerged in eight feet of floodwater for 24 hours over the weekend.

Most of the northern section of the WCML south of Carlisle has already been reopened after extensive flooding of the tracks from the unprecedented Storm Desmond in the north of England.

But the railway north of Carlisle, one of the cities worst affected, was still submerged on Sunday. Levels dropped by mid-morning yesterday (7 December), but there has been extensive damage to track and other lineside equipment, as well as to fencing and buildings.

This morning, National Rail Enquiries said the line should reopen in the afternoon, but that this cannot yet be confirmed until the flood damage has been repaired and checked that it is in full working order.

This affects trains from Virgin Trains West Coast, First TransPennine Express (FTPE) and Caledonian Sleeper services.

Northern Rail services between Workington and Carlisle have also been halted, with passengers advised to use local Stagecoach buses between these stations instead. The Cumbrian cost line between these two stops will remain closed as Network Rail continues to remove three landslides and repair two flood sites along the track. It hopes to reopen this line later in the week.

Alternative routes include using CrossCountry services between Birmingham New Street and Edinburgh via Newcastle, East Midlands Trains and FTPE on any reasonable route, ScotRail services between Glasgow Central and Edinburgh, London Underground services between Euston station and Kings Cross station, and Virgin Trains East Coast services between Kings Cross station and Edinburgh.

Flooding on the West Coast main line north of Carlisle - 2

Debbie Francis of Network Rail said today that the organisation’s ‘orange army’ had removed large amounts of debris and mud from the railway, made repairs to the track and infrastructure and put in place temporary measures to allow trains to run through the area.

Engineers will continue to carry out repairs to damaged signalling and electrical equipment so the full service can be reinstated.

Francis added: “Eight feet of floodwater caused widespread damage to the railway, but work has taken place round the clock to make repairs and clear the debris.

“Before trains are able to run normally, large amounts of signalling equipment, including safety-critical electrical cabinets, need to be replaced following extensive flood damage and work will continue to take place over the coming days.”

Several emergency speed restrictions will remain in place while Network Rail continues to recover the network.

Read more about the storm’s impact on the railways in RTM’s coverage, or follow the incident in real time by using the hashtag #StormDesmond.


Simon J   08/12/2015 at 20:19

Well done Network Rail and REAL (not paper) engineers. I see that the media failed to show much in the way of congratulations though, despite doubtless plenty of opportunity - look out for the usual whingeing about engineering work though.

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