Last night (16 June) 180 tonnes of earth slipped onto the railway after persistent heavy rainfall near Whitmore, Staffordshire.

As thunderstorms battered large parts of the West Midlands yesterday, monitoring equipment near the landslip site recorded 66mm of rain in just one hour.

Emergency repairs began straight away to enable three of the four railway lines to reopen to keep key workers and critical freight moving.

Although more heavy rainfall is forecast, emergency repair work will continue tonight so Network Rail can reopen all four lines tomorrow.

James Dean, route director for Network Rail’s West Coast Main Line South Route, said: ““The force of the stormy weather and the heavy rain caused this landslip on the West Coast main line.

“Our engineers will be working round-the-clock to complete repairs and reopen all four lines through the area. I’d urge anybody who has to make essential journeys between Crewe and Stafford to check their journey before travelling as there may be some minor delays.” 

So that trains can run safely, speed restrictions will remain in place on the line until repairs are completed in the next few weeks.  

Government guidance is to avoid public transport and only travel by train if you absolutely have to – and if you do, wear a face covering, avoid peak times if possible and maintain a two-metre distance from other passengers.

Passengers making essential journeys are being urged to check nationalrail.co.uk for the latest information.