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WCML section shut for a month after Storm Frank batters Lamington Viaduct

The Lamington Viaduct, which crosses the Clyde on the West Coast Main Line (WCML) and is a key route between Carlisle and Glasgow, will remain closed throughout January after the devastating Storm Frank battered Scotland and the north of England last week.

Network Rail engineers, currently working on the section shortly after recovering the route from Storm Desmond’s damage last month, said one pier of the viaduct has been weakened.

Investigations into the full extent of the damage will continue until the end of next week, but it is already anticipated that the first trains will not cross the viaduct – which also provides the main route between Manchester and Scotland –until 1 February.

Train companies operating services affected by the damaged viaduct have put plans in place to facilitate travels with altered journeys and replacement buses.

Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance and of Network Rail Scotland, said: “Our engineers have been working round the clock for the past few days, in extremely difficult conditions, to try and gain access to the viaduct so that we can understand the scale of the damage that has been caused by Storm Frank. While that assessment work is not yet fully complete, it is clear now that the damage is significant.

“Ticket acceptance is in place on affected routes and our teams are geared up to answer questions about how people can best get to where they are going.”

Virgin Trains West Coast will continue to provide a replacement coach service for passengers between Carlisle and Glasgow, already made available after Storm Desmond destroyed the WCML section north of Carlisle.

There is also an alternative train service running on a diversionary route, but the company’s executive director of operations said this is a limited service and will add 90 minutes to journeys.

Virgin Trains tickets are being accepted on its East Coast services between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh and on CrossCountry services between Birmingham and Glasgow, but services will be much busier than usual.

Lamington Viaduct damage

Paul Watson, operations director at First TransPennine Express, said the necessary closure of the bridge will incur significant inconvenience across longer and amended travels.

“As an industry, however, we have been working hard to ensure that cross-border travel is available. Customers are advised to either travel via the East Coast Main Line, changing from Manchester at York or Newcastle for services to Edinburgh or using the coach replacement services between Carlisle and Glasgow,” he added.

"We have lifted ticket restrictions and are strongly advising customers to check the details of their journey before travelling."


Andrew George   04/01/2016 at 18:20

Please note that Lamington Viaduct is not "just outside Lockerbie", but bridges the Clyde about halfway between Beattock Summit and Carstairs.

David Bruce   04/01/2016 at 20:33

Pity the diversionary route via Kilmarnock is so slow because of singling between Kilmarnock and Barrhead.

Jak Jaye   05/01/2016 at 15:23

Whats the problem? back in WW11 when a bridge was blown the Royal Engineers had another one up in a matter of hours+when St Pancras was bombed it was running open in 24 hours ah progress isnt it a funny thing?

Nonsuchmike   05/01/2016 at 16:06

Ahhhh! Now if they had not closed the Waverley route in the first place, but had the foresight to keep it dualled, then there would have only been a detour and not a flamin' long coach hike each way. Or even by the long route via Kilmarnock. It seems that Scotland got the worst of both worlds under Beeching.

Jeds   15/01/2016 at 14:20

Rumoured that Network Rail want reopening at line speed, which obviously means more site works with a longer line closure. Apparently a Temporary Speed Restriction brings performance penalties (with payments to TOCs and FOCs) to NR, whilst full closure does not. I hope this not the case but if so then NR should be hauled to account by the ORR.

Brian Carr   17/01/2016 at 18:48

Im the boss at Dhl glasgow this is costing us thousands as we have staff to pay with nothing for them to do, ray john chris managers are working hard on behalf of virgin with supplying the new route via carlise , hope it is sorted soon merry christmas to you all.

Northyorkshire   23/01/2016 at 00:22

Basic hydraulics? If you part dam up a watercourse. you increase the flow through the rest of the structure. This increases the scour risk on the any other piers. Net result more damage and longer time for remedial works. Whoever agreed the risk assessment for the initial damming of the river/pier should answer for any additional delay caused?

Glynne Gianelli   23/01/2016 at 11:48

The Glasgow and South Western route via Kilmarnock was the ideal diversionary route during the 70's Electrification of WCML. Why these idiots singled routes to save money is beyond belief. To try and re-lay them is always a hassle and costs 10 times as much in the end.

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