A VIADUCT which was closed to trains after suffering storm damage over Hogmanay, causing major transport disruption, is due to reopen next week ahead of a revised schedule.
The Lamington viaduct, near Abington, was closed on New Year’s Eve after damage from Storm Frank left the Victorian structure precariously close to collapsing into the Clyde.
Originally, the viaduct looked set to reopen by 1 February, but further damage was found and engineers warned it could be March before trains were running on the complete West Coast Mainline route again.
Replacement services and timetables were implemented on the West Coast Mainline route and some passengers were diverted via Dumfries, while those travelling between Glasgow and Carlisle were offered a replacement bus service.
Now rail bosses have announced the route is to reopen on Monday, following an intensive seven week engineering project to save the vital structure from collapse.
The viaduct’s second pier was left on the brink of failure when floodwaters scoured out much of its foundations. The incident also damaged the second pier’s steel bearings, which support the bridge-deck and track above the pier, a non-load-bearing section of the viaduct’s third pier and the structure’s north abutment.
Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, said: “I am delighted that we have managed to complete the works at Lamington ahead of schedule.
“I understand the impact the closure of Lamington Viaduct has had on customers and our engineers have been working around-the-clock since its closure to finish the repairs and get trains back on the West Coast Mainline.”
He added: “This project has been a hugely challenging one - involving working out in the Clyde through the worst of January’s storms in a race against time to save the structure. Our engineers have faced atrocious conditions throughout this project and I am really proud of their hard work and their absolute commitment to getting the line open again.”
Phil Bearpark, executive director of operations and projects at Virgin Trains, said: “We’re really pleased that Network Rail has announced that the West Coast Mainline will re-open later this month, ahead of schedule.”
First TransPennine Express interim managing director Liz Collins said: “We’re delighted to have a date set for the reopening of Lamington viaduct. The completion of the repairs will mean our services will begin to return to normal.”