Extreme weather response update 17.03.20

Extreme weather response update 17.03.20

Published 17 March 2020 | Average read time
4 min read
Stories Environment Stories

Extreme weather across Britain has caused significant disruption and damage to the railway.

Our teams have worked around in the clock in certain areas to respond to issues caused by Storm Ciara, Storm Dennis and additional heavy rainfall, and get passengers moving again.

Thank you for bearing with us while we carry out this vital work.

Please check National Rail Enquiries for up-do-date travel information before you start your journey.

Here’s an update of some of our progress:

Services resume on storm damaged Dumfries railway

Passenger services resumed between Kilmarnock and Dumfries on March 16 after we completed work to reopen the line in Scotland.

The section of the line near Holywood in Dumfries and Galloway had closed on February 10 after Storm Ciara’s 90mph winds and extreme rainfall caused the nearby River Nith to erode an embankment beneath the railway.

Kilmarnock and Dumfries and passenger services have now resumed

Detailed examination of the landslip by specialist engineers confirmed 1,700 ton of debris had slipped from beneath the railway with much of it spilling into the river and taking out a retaining wall in the process.

Our engineers worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week to remove the debris from the river, install rock armour protection and strengthen the riverside before rebuilding and re-profiling the railway embankment.

Landslips explained

How we respond to landslips

Repairs complete after one of South East’s biggest landslips

We reopened the railway between Redhill and Tonbridge on March 16 – two weeks earlier than expected after completing repairs to the Edenbridge landslip.

This section of the railway closed on December 22 after one of the region’s biggest ever landslips. We worked with contractor BAM Nuttall to repair the damage.

Fiona Taylor, route director for Kent at Network Rail, said: “This has been an incredibly challenging landslip for us to repair and it has been a difficult time for passengers too. I’m so grateful to them for their patience and understanding they’ve shown to us this winter and I’m really pleased we are able to open their railway sooner than we expected. It’s a huge tribute to all the people who are working so hard on site to get this job done.”

New track at Edenbridge

Cumbrian Coast line

Gallery: the damage at Parton

We began emergency repairs on the Cumbrian Coast line last week following 60mph winds and huge waves driven by 10m high tides, which battered the railway bridge at Parton.

The onshore swells hurled rocks from the beach, cracking the walls and ceiling of the bridge and destabilising the railway above.

Images above of the track show a section of ground giving way just inches from the railway.

Our engineers’ first move was to halt trains to keep passengers safe while we took urgent steps to fix the problem.

Cross City line reopens

The tree on the Cross City line

The Cross City line between Lichfield Trent Valley and Birmingham New Street fully opened last week after a fallen tree tore down overhead power lines.

Network Rail’s engineers worked around the clock from March 11 to clear the tree, fix the damaged wires, test them and safely reopen the railway as quickly as possible.

The tree fell onto the railway from neighbouring land near Wylde Green station, pulling down the overhead power lines as it fell. This resulted in the line being closed between Lichfield and New Street.

Dave Penney, Network Rail’s Central route director, said: “I am sorry for the disruption caused to journeys throughout yesterday. Clearing the tree from the line was not the challenge, it was repairing the overhead lines which were pulled down as it fell onto the tracks. We did all we could to fix them and reopen the railway as quickly as possible.

“While the tree fell from a neighbouring property, this type of incident highlights why we carry out vegetation management on our land to reduce the chances of passengers being disrupted like this. I want to thank everyone affected for their patience.”

Read more:

Storm Dennis: how we’re responding

How storms and flooding affect the railway.


Climate change and weather resilience on the railway

Our seasonal track treatment and weather support fleet

Earthworks asset management