Homes evacuated from trackside landslip by quick thinking railway workers

Across Britain, our teams have responded to emergencies caused by heavy rain in recent months – always with the priority of keeping people safe.

Incidents have included a landslip in West Lancashire, where our quick thinking staff helped keep nearby residents and passengers safe from a landslip.

Storm Jorge hit Britain at the end of February and led to significant damage and disruption on the railway. On Saturday, 29 February, a landslip occurred on the Kirkby to Wallgate line after persistent heavy rain. A 15m fault line suddenly appeared on top of a railway cutting at Pimbo Lane in Upholland, requiring emergency repair work by Network Rail over the next three days.

Engineers put safety first by evacuating two elderly residents from their nearby homes and reducing the speed of trains through the area. Our team then completed emergency repairs by digging out and shoring up the slope to make it safe.

The fault line and our repairs in progress

It was one of many incidents our engineers responded to during a prolonged period of severe weather. Problems have included an eroded embankment near Holywood in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland; multiple landslips in South East England and a landslip on the Cumbrian Coast line. Read about how we have responded to these incidents and worked around the clock to get passengers moving again.

Rosie Cooper, MP for West Lancashire, said of the Upholland landslip: “This incident could have been very serious but thankfully Network Rail’s vigilance has meant this was avoided and thankfully repair work was carried out immediately to the railway cutting near residents’ homes – residents were very pleased.”

Phil James, North West route director at Network Rail, said: “Persistent heavy rain brought by successive storms has saturated the ground and weakened our embankments and cuttings across the North West.

“As part of our routine monitoring work, I’m proud that our emergency response teams kept people and trains safe from this landslip on the Kirkby to Wigan Wallgate line that was caused by Storm Jorge.

“We also showed that we care about our lineside neighbours by immediately strengthening the slope, so residents could safely and quickly return to their homes.”

With the residents now back in their homes, we have planned repairs for the long term over the next few weeks.

Keeping people safe is always our priority. Find out more about how we respond to landslips and how we’re working hard to ensure the ground is safe for trains for years to come.

Watch this video below to hear from Derek Butcher, a route asset manager at Network Rail, how we’re using state-of-the-art technology to try to prevent landslips:

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

Living by the railway