Hillmorton Junction landslip repairs February 2021

Race to fix West Coast main line landslip complete

Railway engineers had to work against the clock to prevent the West Coast main line between Milton Keynes and Birmingham from being damaged by thousands of tonnes of moving earth.

Network Rail specialists have spent 17 days completely rebuilding a railway embankment at Hillmorton Junction, just south of Rugby, after land started to slip underneath the tracks on Wednesday 27 January.

The work saw an embankment 10 metres high and 40 metres wide completely rebuilt, 10,000 tonnes of new stone laid to improve drainage and new foundations and special pins installed to prevent any future movement.

The heavy rain brought on by Storm Christoph is thought to have caused the landslip. Whilst the work took place, trains were diverted via Northampton.

Tomorrow (Saturday 13 February) the line will reopen to trains, two days ahead of schedule.

Yesterday (Thursday 11 February), Member of Parliament for Rugby, Mark Pawsey visited the site, he said: “As someone who regularly uses the railway to travel between Rugby and London, I was keen to visit the site of the landslip and see for myself the progress being made to resolve this issue. It’s very impressive to see how swiftly Network Rail’s team have been able to restore the embankment, especially in the very challenging weather conditions of recent days.”

Hillmorton landslip damage January 2021

Ellen Wintle, Infrastructure Director for Network Rail’s West Coast South route, said: “I’m proud of my team for working all hours to get this vital section of the West Coast main line secure and back up and running again for our passenger and freight customers.

“Because this landslip was spotted early, we were able to control the damage and carry out repairs quickly, reducing the length of time passengers and freight would be disrupted. I thank people whose essential journeys were slightly longer during the work for their patience while we worked tirelessly to make the railway safe and secure again.”

Gus Dunster, Executive Director of Operations & Safety for Avanti West Coast, said: “We would like to thank Network Rail’s team of engineers for working around the clock, in challenging weather conditions, to get the line reopened so quickly.

“We have worked hard with all our industry partners to keep delays and disruption to a minimum during these works, and we would like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding during this time.”

Machinery on site at Hillmorton Junction landslip repair

Lawrence Bowman, Customer Experience Director for London Northwestern Railway, said: “I would like to thank our customers making essential journeys for their patience and understanding while Network Rail carried out these important repairs.

“I am pleased we’re now able to reinstate our services at stations along the Trent Valley from this weekend. The response to this incident has been a great example of the rail industry working together in the best interests of passengers.”

Images: Network Rail 

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