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Network Rail chooses £23m engineering programme for Appleby landslip

Disruptions on the Settle to Carlisle line following a 500,000-tonne landslip should be at an end by spring next year Network Rail has said, after announcing a £23m engineering solution has been found to solve the problem.

Network Rail will install a new concrete and steel tunnel-like structure to provide a firm foundation for the tracks, allowing services to reopen in March 2017.

The installation process will involve installing hundreds of piles in the bedrock of the River Eden, north of Armathwaite.

Landslip diagram

Martin Frobisher, managing director for Network Rail’s LNW route, said: “The tunnel-like structure we’re building will safeguard this section of railway for generations to come. If the land gives way again, the railway will not.

“This is a complex repair job many months in the planning. We are now focused on getting this iconic and much-loved line fully reopened right the way to Carlisle as soon as possible.”

Landslip 1

The landslip, which was caused by severe erosion of the embankment near the River Eden due to repeated storms, happened on 31 January.

The line has been closed since February, initially between Appleby and Carlisle, although Northern services are now running as far as Armathwaite, with a replacement bus service then being provided to Appleby.

The repair solution was chosen over five others, including building a bridge, significantly moving the course of the Settle and Carlisle railway, and digging out the entire gorge embankment and filling it with solid material.

Network Rail is trying to mitigate the impact of the repairs. Today, along with members of the Friends of Settle Carlisle Line (FoSCL) and Northern, it will distribute leaflets in the local area, before holding a public drop-in session at Armathwaite village hall.

With the council, it has agreed a route through the neighbouring village of Cumwinton for the three to four lorries of concrete a day that will be arriving at the Eden Brows site from December.

It is also investing an additional £5m in an earthworks project to protect the foot of the bank down to the river, with drainage systems, rock armour and tree replanting being used to stabilise the land. Natural England will advise on the replanting.

Douglas Hodgins, chair of FoSCL, said: “We have been working closely with Network Rail and Northern over the past months to get the best of outcomes to what could have been a catastrophic event for the line's present and future. 

“The enormity of the repair task cannot be overstated. We are very grateful that such effort has been put into getting us to this stage and we are all working hard to ensure that the line - built as a main line between London and Scotland - can resume its role as a vital part of the UK's rail network as soon as possible.

“This particular bit of the Eden gorge slipped in the 1870s when the line was being built. It took the then Midland Railway two years to stabilise the ground with Victorian resources and know-how. We are immensely grateful to Network Rail for devising and commissioning this 21st century solution.”

Landslip historical

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Opsadviser   08/07/2016 at 12:48

Think you'll find the buses are running from Armathwaite to Carlisle, not to Appleby...!

Pdeaves   11/07/2016 at 13:31

Actually, Opsadviser, there are separate Appleby-Carlisle and Armathwaite-Carlisle buses!

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