Despite torrential rain in the north on 28th June closing both the main lines and the Newcastle– Carlisle line, track staff working flat out managed to restore services while drivers and train planners diverted Anglo-Scottish services over the Settle and Carlisle line.
In Scotland the West Highland line was shut between Crianlarich and Fort William after a freight train carrying alumina derailed near Tulloch. The site of the incident was inaccessible by road and located on a steep hillside. The driver was rescued by RAF helicopter.
In Westmorland a landslip at Tebay closed the WCML. Other smaller landslips near Tebay affected both running lines and meant services between Preston, Lancaster and Carlisle were cut. The 1240 Glasgow to Euston service was trapped between two landslips. However, staff managed to fix track and free the train within 90 minutes.
Says Stuart Middleton, Network Rail’s general manager for Lancashire and Cumbria, ‘We had several landslips, the worst of which was at Tebay, where we lost 30 metres of the cess ballast. Plans were quickly put together for emergency repairs to be carried out overnight. These were successful and enabled us to reopen the West Coast Main Line on Friday with a 20 mph speed restriction over the affected area.’
Further east on the same day areas of track bed were torn away by floods at Haltwhistle on the Newcastle-Carlisle route and Scremerston on the East Coast Main Line, three miles south of Berwick. Both sites required significant rebuild. At Scremerston 600 tonnes of new material had to be replaced.
Says Warrick Dent, general manager for Network Rail, ‘Our engineers have worked around the clock to restore services as quickly as possible. The fact that we have a full service running (the following) morning is a testament to them.
‘I would like to pay tribute to my area team,’ said Mr. Dent.
Photo: charlie b1984