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West Coast Main Line to remain open all February after Harbury landslip

The West Coast Main Line will remain open throughout February as Network Rail has announced the cancellation of planned works at Watford, following the landslip at Harbury.

The work to improve the main line from Euston over the weekend of 14-15 and 21-22 February would have seen passengers redirected onto services using the Chiltern route between Birmingham, Banbury and London Marylebone.

However, as RTM previously reported, the Chiltern route is currently blocked due to a 350,000 tone landslide that occurred on 31 January near Harbury Tunnel in Warwickshire.

As a result the West Coast Main Line improvement work at Watford is being rescheduled so that a direct passenger route can be provided between the West Midlands and London.

Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “Passengers must come first and with the alternative route from Birmingham to London now blocked we have made the right decision to ensure journeys can still be made.”

Landslip diagram new

No trains are able to operate between Banbury and Leamington Spa while Network Rail engineers remove the 350,000 tonnes of material from the site, work which could take several weeks.

Train operators on the West Coast Main Line are currently looking at what services, at this short notice, can be reinstated.

Phil Bearpark, executive director for operations and projects at Virgin Trains, said: “Network Rail’s decision is in the best interests of passengers who would have been left with no alternative services to and from London when work on the West Coast Main Line at Watford took place.

“We are working very hard with Network Rail and other train operators to put in place a timetable that makes best use of the space now available. This will mean that passengers are able to travel to and from London on direct services rather than taking diversionary services, which is really good news. But we are reacting to fast-moving events and I would ask that customers bear with us over the next few days as we clarify details of which trains will be available.”

Patrick Verwer, London Midland’s managing director, added: “Postponing the work at Watford is the right thing to do. Having two main lines from London to the midlands blocked could have caused severe disruption across the whole of the rail network as passengers and freight trains would have very few travel options available.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]


Edward   06/02/2015 at 15:12

This maybe true for the WCML south of Birmingham, but it is not true North of Preston. During the above mentioned Weekends, the WCML between Preston and Lancaster is closed. Instead of thinking of the passengers, and diverting trains via Settle, NR, together with Virgin and TPE is subsidizing their competitors with the hire of buses. Buses will be replacing trains. There will be no facilites for prams or heavy luggage. No buffet or WIFI facilities. No 1st class. This decision has the unlikely Support of Passenger Focus. The TOC's and NR should be forced to use alternative routes when the mainline is closed.

Intergration   06/02/2015 at 17:55

Time for the diversionary route via Worcester to come into play for freight and passenger services.

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