An explanation and apology

Phil James, Route director, North West

Over the last few days, passengers travelling between Whitehaven and Parton on the Cumbrian Coast line have been disrupted due to a damaged railway underbridge.

Our job is to keep passengers and trains on the move. I am very sorry that you have not been able to travel as normal. I want to explain what happened and why we’ve not been able to reopen the railway.

What happened?

Successive storms, along with 60mph winds and high tides present on Thursday 12 March, have battered a Victorian bridge near Parton that carries the Cumbrian Coast line.

10-metre high waves have hurled rocks from the beach onto the supporting concrete foundation, which carries the weight of the structure.

As a result, this onslaught has weakened the structure in general, causing the underbridge’s arch and the track above to sag.

Keeping people safe is our biggest priority. This is why we’ve closed this section of the Coast line.

What are we doing to fix it?

Unfortunately, due to the damage that’s been caused, this is not an easy fix. Our inspections have shown significant damage to the structure. And we are now working with our specialist contractors on a long-term fix.

In the meantime, we will be carrying out temporary repairs on the structure which will be carried out from now into next week. This will potentially involve putting up temporary props to support the structure, so that trains can safely through this section of the lie. However, even this measure will need careful design through extensive ground investigations and temporary design work which will take at least a week to complete.

Until these measures have been introduced, buses will replace Northern trains between Parton and Whitehaven.

Passengers can get the latest travel information at National Rail Enquiries or claim Delay Repay from Northern.

I hope this explanation is useful to understand why there is disruption on the Cumbrian Coast line. Again, thank you for your patience while we fix the issue.

Phil James
North West route director