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WCML trains return to full speed after full flood recovery

Trains on the West Coast Main Line have started travelling at normal speed from today (21 December) after Network Rail successfully reopened the section that had previously been submerged in eight feet of floodwater.

The last parts of the WCML between Carlisle and Glasgow Central/Edinburgh that were still drowned as a result of the unprecedented Storm Desmond were reopened on 8 December, but trains were running under emergency speed restrictions.

Large amounts of debris and mud had been removed from the line by then, but emergency repairs were still needed to the track and infrastructure.

Network Rail has now finished recovering the damaged network, which included building and fitting six new safety-critical electrical cabinets, installing 4km of signalling cable and undertaking extensive signal testing and commissioning to ensure the 20mph speed limit could be removed.

Orange army engineers making repairs on the WCML north of Carlisle

Its route managing director, Martin Frobisher, said: “The WCML fully reopening is great news for passengers travelling on this key route. The orange army has worked tirelessly to reopen the section north of Carlisle as quickly as possible which was under eight feet of floodwater two weeks ago.

“Work has taken place round-the-clock to make repairs and clear the debris. Large amounts of signalling equipment, including these safety-critical electrical cabinets, had to be replaced and I would like to thank passengers for their patients while the work was completed.”

Virgin Trains’ executive director of operations, Phil Bearpark, said the TOC now looks forward to the busy festive period after its trains started running normally earlier today. Other services affected by the north of Carlisle section damage included First TransPennine Express and Caledonian Sleeper.

Network Rail staff will continue to be on standby over the Christmas period to tackle any potential further damage from bad weather.

(Top image: First train to operate on the formerly flooded section of the WCML north of Carlisle)


Stuart B   21/12/2015 at 19:09

Nicely done, NR! My Glasgow-London train yesterday was only 2 minutes late. The orange army certainly earned its pay over the last few days and must be looking forward to a bit of a rest at Christmas. Hopefully, plans are being made to prevent similar problems in the future as global warming brings stonger storms and higher sea levels to play havoc with infrastructure.

Paul Hepworth   23/12/2015 at 10:09

Signalling location cabinets in the Malton area between York & Scarborough, were rebuilt on plinths after past flooding, to elevate them above potential flood level. Where else might it be sensible to do likewise? Somerset levels perhaps?

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