Rail passengers in Ayrshire are facing disruption for two weeks from a train collision at the weekend.
Buses are replacing services to Newcastle and Carlisle as well as local travel in and out of Dumfries and will continue for days yet until derailed wagons are removed.
Track owner Network Rail confirmed yesterday afternoon it would take about ten days to remove all the wagons and then an additional three days to repair the track. A temporary timetable is in place until then.
Nobody was injured when two trains collided on Saturday morning during engineering work on a line near Cumnock.
Some 18 wagons on the trains derailed, with several left on their side and off the track. One of the locomotives is believed to have run into the rear of the other train. The line had already been closed for the weekend for engineering work between Kilmarnock and Dumfries.
Network Rail said a 1,000-tonne crane is due to arrive in the next couple days to begin removing wagons. The cause of the crash is being investigated by Network Rail and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch.
Until the line reopens, trains between Glasgow Central and Carlisle and Newcastle, via Dumfries, will terminate at Kilmarnock and start back at Dumfries. About 20 such connections a day will be affected and require replacement buses, said ScotRail. Local trains between Dumfries and Carlisle are unaffected. ScotRail tickets will be accepted between Carlisle and Glasgow Central by Virgin Trains West Coast and TransPennine Express.
A spokesman for ScotRail Alliance – the formal partnership between ScotRail and Network Rail – said: “We apologise to customers affected by the disruption. Replacement buses have been arranged to minimise the impact and specialist engineers are working to reopen the line as quickly as possible.”
Network Rail said a crane would be needed to clear the site before some repair work was carried out.
A spokesman for the operator said: “At approximately 11:20am, in a Network Rail work site, two ballast carrying trains collided, resulting in the derailment of some wagons of each train.
“No-one was hurt in the incident but it has resulted in some track damage.
“Once the derailed wagons have been recovered the repair work will take approximately three days to complete. It is expected the line will remain closed for a number of days.
“During this time, passenger services will start and terminate at Dumfries and Kilmarnock, and freight traffic will be diverted via the west coast main line and Paisley.”
Nobody from Direct Rail Services, which operates the locomotive involved, replied to a request for a comment at the weekend.
The disruption comes a week after service resumed on the busy Glasgow-Edinburgh line. Six weeks of work at the Winchburgh tunnel, near Linlithgow, put passengers on replacement buses or diverted to other routes.
The work is part of the electrification of the main Central Belt line that will bring even more chaos in 2016 with work at Glasgow Queen Street station.