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Carlisle and Appleby landslip – repairing the damage

The railway between Carlisle and Appleby is to be closed for several months due to a major landslip.

We will be operating train services between Leeds and Appleby with a replacement bus service running between Appleby and Carlisle. Please check Northern Rail for
travel updates on services between Leeds and Carlisle.

The latest travel information is also available at National Rail Enquiries

Latest update

Work has started on a £23m repair plan for the Settle-Carlisle railway, which is expected to be complete in March 2017. The 500,000 tonne landslip closed the railway in February 2016.

Design solution

Engineers are now building an enormous concrete and steel tunnel-like structure that will sit beneath the railway, 70 metres above the River Eden, providing a stable base across the damaged and unstable ground.

Two rows of high-strength piles – steel tubes filled with concrete – will then be driven into the sloping bedrock of the Eden gorge, north of Armathwaite. The hundreds of piles will form a corridor, set into the hillside, on which a 1.5 metre-thick, 100 metre-long concrete slab will then be placed. This slab will form a solid base for the train tracks.

Engineers have picked this solution from six potential options, each of which has been robustly worked up. In addition to the solid structure being built beneath the railway, an extensive earthworks project (see groundworks below), costing an estimated £5m, is planned to protect the foot of the bank down to the river.  Drainage systems and ‘rock armour’, which helps prevent erosion, followed by tree replanting will stabilise the land. Drilling started for the piling operation (see diagram below) in summer 2016 after access roads and a site compound were installed in recent months by Story, our contractors. 

Groundworks diagram

(click to enlarge)

Cross section of piling works (click to enlarge)

The proposed repair solution (click to enlarge)


This is a vital rail link across the north of England and I am very aware of how important the railway is to the local community and local economy.
I can assure everyone that we are doing all we can to design a lasting solution and to reopen the railway as quickly as possible. We will continue to work with Northern Rail to keep passengers and communities informed of what we are doing and the progress we are making.

Martin Frobisher, Network Rail’s route managing director

This is clearly another challenging and complex engineering project for Network Rail to tackle. While their engineers assess the extent of the work, we will continue to ensure our customers are kept on the move, up to date with the latest information and that disruption is kept to a minimum.

Alex Hynes, managing director for Northern Rail