We’re working to repair Parton Bridge on the Cumbrian Coast line after extreme weather damaged the Victorian bridge earlier this year

In March 2020 the bridge on the sea wall at Parton was severely damaged following extreme weather across the North West. Strong winds and high tides caused cracks to appear in the Victorian bridge, which carries the Cumbrian Coast line over the sea wall just south of Parton station.

In late March, teams examined the bridge and found that the damage to the structure is worse than initially thought.

To make the railway safe and reliable for passengers in the future, the bridge is being completely replaced over the coming months.

Our teams are working as quickly as possible to repair the bridge, and we expect to be able to reopen this part of the railway in summer 2020.

Project updates

Trains back on track after major repairs to storm ravaged Cumbrian Coast line

Trains have started running on the Cumbrian Coast line again after three consecutive storms forced the railway to close earlier this year. Northern services resumed on the line from Monday 1 June after engineering teams completed the replacement of a railway bridge damaged beyond repair at Parton by Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge in March.

For the last 11 weeks the railway between Whitehaven and Workington has been closed so that the bridge could be made safe and reliable again. Network Rail teams have now successfully replaced the damaged underpass beneath the railway, strengthened the sea wall and re-laid the track.

While trains can now run on the line between Workington and Whitehaven, Network Rail teams expect to be on site for four more weeks to finish work to improve fencing and landscaping in the surrounding area.

While the railway was closed, work on sea defences scheduled for later this year was brought forward to minimise more unnecessary disruption to passengers and freight. More than 36,000 tonnes of rock armour has been installed to protect the exposed section of coastal railway and mean more reliable journeys in the future.

Later in June, the line between Millom and Sellafield will be closed for 9 days due to 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 National Rail enquiries for the most up-to-date travel information.

Work at Parton is progressing well, and engineers are on schedule to get trains back in service on the whole of the Cumbrian Coast line by June this year.

Over the weekend (18-19 April), work took place to install the base of the new sea wall, replacing the portion damaged by extreme weather in March. This will be followed by the sides and the ‘ceiling’ of the new wall, before the track is put back on over the top, allowing trains to run again.

Aerial photograph showing the repair work taking place at Parton

At the same time, teams are also installing the new underbridge which allows access from the road underneath the railway on to the beach. Engineers were able to quickly source a replacement structure for the original Victorian bridge, which sadly took too much storm damage to be able to be repaired safely.

Underpass work taking place at Parton

As well as undertaking this vital work to get trains running along the Cumbrian Coast once more, teams are making the most of the opportunity to upgrade this stretch of the line while trains aren’t running.

Engineers have brought forward a scheme to install additional rock armour along the coast, better protecting this part of the railway from the elements in the future.

Work had been scheduled to be undertaken later in the year, but teams have taken advantage of the unexpectedly quiet railway to install the rock armour earlier than planned, also extending the length of the armour in light of what happened in March.

The project is progressing well on site, and our teams are being as conscientious neighbours as possible. That being said, any concerns or questions about the work taking place can be made to Network Rail’s 24-hour national helpline on 03457 11 41 41, where they will be passed on to a member of the project team.

We’ll continue to post updates and pictures of the work on site, but in the meantime do take care and remember that only essential journeys should be being made in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Watch the video below to find out more about the work at Parton, and how engineers repaired the sea wall and railway to enable trains to run again on the line.

Passenger information

While engineers install a new structure, bus replacement services will continue for passengers travelling between Workington, Harrington, Parton and Whitehaven. Trains continue to run between Carlisle and Workington and between Whitehaven and Barrow-in-Furness.

During the coronavirus outbreak, a reduced timetable is in operation across the rail network. Please only travel if you need to. Check before you travel by visiting National Rail Enquiries or Northern's website.

Contact us

If you’re interested in finding out more about this project, please contact us by visiting our contact us page or by calling our 24-hour national helpline on 03457 11 41 41.