‘Danger’ landslip closes rail line

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Published: Sunday 1st February 2015 by The News Editor

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Rail passengers will face at least a week of disruption after a major landslip left around 350,000 tonnes of earth dangerously close to a railway track.

Engineers are monitoring a stretch of a railway line in the Harbury area of Warwickshire after a section of land around 160m long slipped next to the railway.

The landslide has forced the closure of the line between between Leamington Spa in Warwickshre and Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Network Rail said the site was “incredibly dangerous” because the slipped earth is still moving, making it unsafe for staff to even get to it to decide what needs to be done.

The slip occurred around 3pm yesterday. No trains were on the line at the time and it was not covered by the earth.

Engineers have been at the site today to examine the extent of the damage and to see how much it is still moving. It is not known when it will be safe to begin work there, Network Rail said, and an assessment of the area may take several days.

Services between Manchester and Bournemouth and Newcastle, Reading and Southampton are currently being disrupted. There are bus replacement services operating between Leamington Spa and Banbury.

Chiltern Railway and Crosscountry services are expected to run to a revised timetable over the coming week, and passengers are advised to check before they travel.

Network Rail said the area where the slip occurred was a known problem area that had high levels of ground water.

A spokesman said: ” The railway line was not covered by earth but it is dangerous. There is machinery on the side that we have had to leave there as it is too dangerous to retrieve.

“It is an incredibly dangerous and active site at the moment, so we can’t have any trains running through it. We can’t even get on site to see what needs to be done. We need to wait for it to stop moving before we can get on to do assessments.

“If a train were to go past and the land slipped a big disaster could happen.

“We are investigating the cause as to why this has happened. Something happened in the Harbury area in February 2014, so it is a known problem area. We suspect that it is to do with the elevated water level in the area.”

The company apologised for the disruption.

Published: Sunday 1st February 2015 by The News Editor

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