Rail passengers travelling on the Cumbrian Coast line are advised to check before they travel while emergency repairs are made to a damaged underbridge.

Yesterday 60mph winds and huge waves driven by 10m high tides battered the railway bridge at Parton.

The angry onshore swells hurled rocks from the beach cracking the walls and ceiling of the bridge and destabilising the railway above.

Images of the track show a section of ground giving way just inches from the railway.

Network Rail engineers’ first move was to halt trains to keep passengers safe while urgent steps are taken to fix things.

Bus replacement services are in operation between Whitehaven and Parton until Network Rail engineers can shore up the structure to allow train services to continue.

Phil James, route director for the North West said: “I am sorry for the disruption experienced by West Cumbrian passengers following damage to the bridge at Parton after yesterday’s high tides.

“We’re working very hard to make the necessary repairs to reopen the line to passenger and freight trains while still competing with high tides.

“Passengers wishing to travel on the Cumbrian Coast line should check nationalrail.co.uk as their journeys may take longer.”

Chris Jackson, Regional Director for Northern, said: “Our colleagues at Network Rail are working around the clock to repair the damage and get the railway up and running again.

“In the meantime, I’m calling on all Northern passengers to be patient and plan their journeys carefully. We’ve introduced temporary timetables on the Cumbrian Coast line so trains will not be running at the usual times.

“We’re doing all we can to keep people on the move and will reintroduce a full service as soon as possible.”

Engineers are still competing with high tides to carry out inspections the structure. Once complete emergency repairs will be carried out throughout the weekend and into next week.