2nd Mar, 2021

Railway reopens after engineers rebuild embankment

A RAILWAY line has reopened after engineers spent 17 days rebuilding an embankment in Hillmorton.

The West Coast main line at Hillmorton Junction has reopened, having been closed since late January due to a landslip caused by heavy rainfall during Storm Christoph.

Network Rail specialists rebuilt a 10m-high, 40m-wide embankment, laid 10,000 tonnes of new stone to improve drainage, and installed new foundations and special pins to prevent future movement.

Ellen Wintle, infrastructure director for Network Rail’s West Coast South route, said: “I’m really proud of my team for working all hours to get this vital section of the West Coast main line secure and back up and running again for our passenger and freight customers.

“Because this landslip was spotted early we were able to control the damage and carry out repairs quickly, reducing the length of time passengers and freight would be disrupted.

“I thank people whose essential journeys were slightly longer during the work for their patience while we worked tirelessly to make the railway safe and secure again.”

Rugby’s MP Mark Pawsey visited the site.

He said: “As someone who regularly uses the railway, I was keen to visit the site and see the progress being made.

“It’s very impressive to see how swiftly Network Rail’s team have been able to restore the embankment, in very challenging weather conditions. I also wanted to thank Network Rail’s key workers, who have kept the trains running throughout the lockdown.”

“Network Rail told me they will ensure the biodiversity on the site will be maintained and improved through a new planting scheme.”

Stephanie Clifford, the chair of Rugby Rail Users Group, said: “Trains are proceeding very slowly over the reopened section because repair work is still going on.

“A source at the site said that the overall cost was in the region of £2million.

“The road past the site, The Kent, is still closed except to pedestrians and has a permit for closure until March 28.”

Over the coming months, the new embankment will be replanted so it better blends in to the landscape.

Passengers making essential journeys are being advised to check www.nationalrail.co.uk or with train operators Avanti West Coast and London Northwestern Railway.

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