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More misery for north as rain shuts line in Northumberland

Carlisle passengers are once again advised of service disruption after persistent rain caused a second landslip near Hexham, Network Rail has said.

On Tuesday afternoon, the rain caused about 140t of earth to slide onto the tracks near Hexham in Northumberland, but normal service resumed yesterday morning.

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

Since rain is still falling in the area, the earth is still moving and it is currently unsafe for Network Rail to undertake a clean-up job.

The line will therefore be shut between Hexham and Prudhoe – affecting passengers travelling between Carlisle and Newcastle – for several weeks to allow the area to be safely assessed and restored.

The landslip at Farnley Haugh, near Hexham in Northumberland

The line will stay open for Northern Rail services travelling between Carlisle and Hexham and between Prudhoe and Newcastle, with shuttle buses provided between Hexham and Prudhoe.

Rob McIntosh, Network Rail’s route managing director, said: “The safety of passengers, local people and the workforce is our priority and the area will need to be fully assessed and any repairs carried out before the line can reopen and services can return to normal.

“Our teams worked tirelessly to clear 140t of earth and debris from the line earlier in the week but due to the continuing rain fall a second landslip has followed nearby. We will continue to work alongside Northern Rail to keep passengers up-to-date on our progress.”

It has been a difficult few months for rail in the north after excessive flooding in the region, 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, as well as to fencing and buildings.

Trains on the section, running between Carlisle and Glasgow Central/Edinburgh, returned to full speed just before Christmas – but Scotland has still been grappling with flooding ever since. The rail line between Aberdeen and Dundee was closed this morning due to heavy rain, with engineers on track assessing water levels and possible damage.

ScotRail hopes that services will resume this afternoon, but the BBC has reported that the operator can only offer “very limited” alternative travel to and from the central belt starting and ending at Dundee due to poor road conditions.


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