A £3.5m investment is taking place to protect the railway in Cumbria from landslips and provide more reliable journeys for passengers.

Engineers are upgrading the embankments along the railway to improve journeys on the West Coast main line between Oxenholme and Carlisle as part of the Great North Rail Project.

The earth embankments are being made less steep and the ground more secure at two stretches of railway: one located north of Oxenholme and the other just south of Carlisle.

The embankments are constructed from a mix of ash and local material excavated from nearby cuttings, which in these two areas are predominantly taken from glacial deposits – known as Devensian Till.

Work is taking place after the site north of Oxenholme was damaged during Storm Desmond in December 2015 and is set to complete this month (June). Network Rail has kept the railway open to passenger and freight trains throughout.

Richard Hockney, project manager at Network Rail, said: “This essential work as park of the Great North Rail Project will make this busy passenger and freight route more reliable in the future.

“Our teams have worked hard to secure a total of 1.5km of embankment over the last few months, working around challenges brought on by Covid-19.

“I’m proud to be delivering more reliable journeys for passengers and freight services using this vital stretch of railway in Cumbria.”

Meanwhile, passengers should continue following Government guidelines around the use of public transport, and only travel if it is essential. Those who must travel should wear face coverings on their journey.

People making such journeys should visit www.nationalrail.co.uk for the latest passenger information.