Concrete pour to form new deck of Petteril Bridge after freight train derailment in Carlisle, via Network Rail

Safety work restores Carlisle rail line after train derailment

Starting this week, passengers from Carlisle to Newcastle and Carlisle to Skipton will once again have direct passage after the successful repair works that stemmed from a major freight train derailment. Engineers have completed the finishing touches to complex repair works at Petteril Bridge junction, following the collapse of several wagons of a train carrying powdered cement came off the track seven weeks ago.

More than 25,000 hours of work has been conducted at the site after the damages to the Victorian era railway bridge, railway lines and signalling equipment during the incident on Wednesday 19th October. A new reinforced-concrete bridge deck was poured ready to accommodate the track reinstatement over the previous weekend, with trains set to run again from Wednesday 7th December.

Since the closure, the railway has been closed in both directions causing a direct impact to all services on the Tyne Valley line between Carlisle to Newcastle and the Settle to Carlisle line between Carlisle, Appleby and Skipton.

Phil James, Network Rail’s North West route director, said:

“I’m sorry to passengers who’ve faced much longer journeys over the last seven weeks while we carried out our emergency railway repairs. I know how frustrating rail delays can be on people’s lives and we’ve worked tirelessly to get the routes restored as quickly as possible.

“This has been a very complex recovery and repair job. When it’s complete this major railway junction will be better than new and will provide more reliable journeys for passengers and freight for years to come.”

Over the last seven weeks the following works have been conducted:

  • Forensic rail accident investigators assessed the cause of the derailment.
  • The locomotive and 11 of 14 wagons carrying powdered cement were recovered soon after the incident.
  • Giant vacuums removed 80 tonnes of powdered cement from 3 wagons which needed lifting by a huge crane.
  • An 800-tonne crane recovered those wagons which ended up in the water and on the embankment.
  • Environment Agency experts made sure no contamination entered the river Petteril.
  • Eighty metres of damage track was replaced.
  • 400 metres of cabling was installed for signals and points.
  • Two switches – moving sections of track which enables trains to switch lines - were replaced.
  • 125 tonnes of structural concrete were poured into 16 tonnes of metal reinforcement cages to repair the damaged railway bridge over the river.
  • The work took 25,000 hours, over 40 people working 12-hour days, 7 days-week, for 7 weeks.

Kerry Peters, regional director at Northern, said:

“We have been working very hard with Network Rail to reopen the railway at Petteril bridge following the freight train derailment in October.

“We’d like to thank our customers for being patient during this disruption and everyone involved in getting our passengers moving again.”

Sharon Kennedy, Environment Agency environment manager, said:

“The Environment Agency incident response teams provided support to the initial rail incident and the ongoing recovery work to ensure minimum impact to the environment. This example shows how we can work together at pace to respond to a critical incident to support safe rail infrastructure, protect the environment and manage flood risk to the public.”

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