Scottish rail lines in chaos after rain
A LANDSLIP blocked the east coast main line near Berwick-upon-Tweed last night, less than 24 hours after debris halted trains to the Highlands for an expected two weeks.
Passengers on the Edinburgh-London route were transferred to buses after an empty Virgin Voyager train being used for driver training hit the landslide at Lamberton, just north of the Border.
A tree was also brought down in the incident which closed the line between Berwick and Dunbar, affecting GNER and some Virgin CrossCountry services.
In Glasgow, commuters suffered further misery after a track fault caused a major disruption to train services during the evening rush hour.
Trains were halted for an hour between Queen Street and Charing Cross stations, at the heart of the cross-city suburban line.
The incident also severed the replacement rail connection between the Queen Street main line station and Springburn, to which most services have been switched while flood damage is repaired.
Work to re-open the Perth-Inverness line is expected to take at least two weeks after a major landslip devastated 200 yards of track.
Heavy rain on Tuesday night led to a 12ft hole being gouged out from under the track near Pitlochry, leaving the rails in mid-air. The incident happened only one day after the line was re-opened following repairs at Slochd, north of Aviemore, after last week’s floods.
Tuesday’s deluge also washed away ballast under two other nearby sections of track, both beside the River Tummel, just south of Pitlochry. Inverness-London sleepers have been cancelled, with daytime ScotRail and GNER trains being replaced by buses and freight services diverted via Aberdeen or suspended.
Railtrack Scotland estimated the landslips involved a total of some 2,500 tonnes of debris.
The firm said the damage was the worst it had encountered since a 70 yard section of track was washed away at Glenluce on the Glasgow-Stranraer line, two years ago, which caused the derailment of a two-coach train.
Engineers are also checking flooding of the line at Aviemore, Kingussie, Pitlochry and Perth for possible further damage.
A Railtrack spokeswoman said checks were being made at known landslip risk areas across the Scottish network.
However, she said damage caused over the last week had occurred at other, unexpected locations.
Another Virgin Voyager hit a tree at Beattock on the west coast main line on Tuesday night, dislodging its fuel tank.
Other landslips caused by last Tuesday’s monsoon-like rains included one near Queen Street station in Glasgow and one at Auchengray in Lanarkshire, on the Edinburgh-Carstairs line.
Frank Roach, the rail development manager for the Highland Rail Partnership, said the second closure of the Perth-Inverness line was a major blow as it came at the busiest time of the year for tourist traffic.
He hoped freight, such as timber, oil and supplies to Safeway supermarkets in the Highlands, would not be lost to rail.
Flood damage at Queen Street and in tunnels near Haymarket station in Edinburgh has forced the postponement of ScotRail’s quarter-hourly service between the two cities until at least Monday.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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