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Extreme weather response update


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:

Wales repairs continue – and most lines reopen

Wales was one of the worst-hit areas in Britain; it endured 90mph winds, extreme rainfall and flooding. The weather closed many lines and caused substantial damage to the Conwy Valley line in north Wales, which had suffered similar damage just last year.

The Conwy Valley line runs between Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog. Inspections this month found Storm Ciara had washed away the ballast – the stones that support the track – in several places. The storm also damaged fencing and level crossings at several locations.

Gallery: Conwy Valley line damage, February 2020

The recent emergency comes after we reopened the Conwy Valley line – a significant route for the area’s economy – last summer following extensive flood damage.

The weather since Storm Ciara has meant we haven’t yet been able to establish a timeline for repairs. Keep up-to-date with information about Conwy Valley on our Wales and Borders route Twitter account @NetworkRailWAL.

Meanwhile, we have reopened most lines in Wales affected by the weather in recent weeks. The Abergavenny to Hereford line reopened on Saturday February 22, ahead of the Wales versus France Six Nations rugby match. The only other lines that remain affected are the line between Abercynon and Aberdare, with partial reopening due on Monday morning, and the Conwy Valley line in north Wales. All other closed lines have now reopened.

Watch this video to see some of our repairs:

Dumfries repairs underway

Work to repair the landslip beneath the railway between Kilmarnock and Dumfries in Scotland has begun following damage sustained during Storm Ciara.

The section of line near Holywood in Dumfries and Galloway has been closed since Monday February 10 after 90mph winds and extreme rainfall caused the nearby River Nith to erode an embankment beneath the railway.

Detailed examination of the landslip by specialist engineers confirmed the extent of the damage. We have developed a programme to repair the 1,700-tonne landslip beneath a 50m stretch of track.

Tom Podger, a project manager at Network Rail, said: “The landslip is located in a difficult location above the river and the remoteness of the site presents a challenge in getting equipment and materials to the site.

“We are though working through these issues as quickly as possible to get the line re-opened for customers.”

Our team begins repairs between Kilmarnock and Dumfries

Billericay landslip

The line between Billericay and Wickford on the Southend Victoria line reopened on Monday February 24 following repairs to a landslip at Billericay on February 19, causing ballast to fall away beneath a section of track.

We had already planned to close the line for overhead line upgrade work but as a safety measure, closed the Southend-bound line at this location and enabled trains able to run in both directions on the adjacent line.

Billericay landslip

Line between East Grinstead and Lingfield to reopen in March

Work is underway to reopen the railway between East Grinstead in West Sussex and Lingfield in Surrey by 30 March after two landslips blocked the line.

There have been two landslips between Dormans and East Grinstead, where the railway lies between a remote woodland, south of Wilderness Lake.

The first landslip happened on 28 December, but we were able to continue running trains with a speed restriction. Our engineers began working on a plan to shore up the line, but Storms Ciara and Dennis damaged the embankment even more and we had to close the line for safety reasons.

Repairs begin at East Grinstead in West Sussex

Works to repair the slip involve building an 800-metre-long road just to reach the site, due to its remote location. We will drive steel beams into the ground to build a wall to repair the embankment.

We need to bring in almost 25,000 tonnes of new material to replace the soil lost in the slips, delivered to site on 25 trains. After reopening the line we will carry out further work to shore up the section between the two landslips when it is less disruptive to passengers.

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

Together we can end domestic abuse