Repairs will soon be complete on a section of the Cumbrian Coast line left badly damaged by three consecutive storms earlier this year.
High tides, strong winds and heavy rain brought by Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge caused structural damage to a bridge carrying the railway at Parton.
Both lines have been closed since March so the bridge could be completely replaced to make the railway safe and reliable again.
Phil James, route director for Network Rail’s North West route, said: “Repairs at Parton are progressing well, and I look forward to the whole of the Cumbrian Coast line – a key passenger and freight route being open to services once more.
“I’m especially impressed that our teams have been able to undertake all of this work while following social distancing guidelines introduced by government.
“It demonstrates just how well we can work together, even in such testing times.”
To coincide with the full railway closure work on sea defences scheduled for later this year has been brought forward.
More than 36,000 tonnes of rock armour is being placed to protect the railway from being pounded by powerful waves.
The large boulders, sourced from a Cumbrian quarry, will better protect the exposed section of coastal railway and mean more reliable journeys for passengers and freight in the future.
Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern, said: “This has been a really difficult time for our customers in Cumbria and I’d like to say thank you for their patience and understanding while the repairs have been carried out.
“I’m also grateful to Network Rail for the hard work and dedication which will soon see rail services restored. We have worked closely together throughout this project which has not only repaired the damage, but also delivered improvements that will benefit local people.”
Dr Steve Curl, transport and infrastructure lead at Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We’re very pleased to see the progress being made on the Cumbrian Coast line and look forward to the full resumption of services.
“It’s encouraging to note the way that continued safe working has been carried out in recent weeks as the line is a key part of Cumbria’s strategic infrastructure and will have a significant role to play in the county’s recovery post-Covid 19.
“Cumbria LEP has long recognised its importance, reflected in the fact that we provided 10 per cent of the required funding for an Outline Business Case study that will hopefully lead to increased speed, resilience and capacity on the line in the future.”
Network Rail’s repair work at Parton is due to complete by the end of May, when train services will resume between Whitehaven and Workington.
However, a reduced timetable is currently in operation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Later in June, the line between Millom and Sellafield will be closed for 9 days due to work planned work to renew the track at Eskmeals, near Ravenglass for Eskdale station.
Passengers should continue following Government guidelines around the use of public transport, and only travel if they have to.
People making such journeys should visit www.nationalrail.co.uk for the latest information.