Passengers will once again have direct trains between Carlisle and Newcastle and Carlisle and Skipton from next week after the routes were closed by a major freight train derailment.
Railway engineers are putting the finishing touches to complex repairs at Petteril Bridge junction after several wagons of a train carrying powdered cement came off the track seven weeks ago.
Network Rail has released latest footage from the site where a new reinforced-concrete bridge deck has been poured ready for tracks to be reinstated this weekend so trains can run again from Wednesday 7 December.
Huge damage was caused to a Victorian-built railway bridge, railway lines and signalling equipment during the incident on Wednesday 19 October.
Since then, the railway has been closed in both directions – impacting all services on the Tyne Valley line between Carlisle and Newcastle and the Settle to Carlisle line between Carlisle, Appleby and Skipton.
More than 25,000 hours of work has taken place to get the railway restored so trains can run again.
Phil James, Network Rail’s North West route director, said: “I’m sorry to passengers who’ve faced much longer journeys over the last seven weeks while we carried out our emergency railway repairs. I know how frustrating rail delays can be on people’s lives and we’ve worked tirelessly to get the routes restored as quickly as possible.
“This has been a very complex recovery and repair job. When it’s complete this major railway junction will be better than new and will provide more reliable journeys for passengers and freight for years to come.”
Over the last seven weeks:
- Forensic rail accident investigators assessed the cause of the derailment.
- The locomotive and 11 of 14 wagons carrying powdered cement were recovered soon after the incident.
- Giant vacuums removed 80 tonnes of powdered cement from three wagons which needed lifting by a huge crane.
- An 800-tonne crane recovered those wagons which ended up in the water and on the embankment.
- Environment Agency experts made sure no contamination entered the river Petteril.
- Eighty metres of damage track was replaced.
- 400 metres of cabling was installed for signals and points.
- Two switches – moving sections of track which enables trains to switch lines – were replaced.
- 125 tonnes of structural concrete was poured into 16 tonnes of metal reinforcement cages to repair the damaged railway bridge over the river.
- The work took 25,000 hours, over 40 people working 12-hour days, seven days-week, for seven weeks.
Train services are due to resume from start of service on Wednesday 7 December.
Kerry Peters, regional director at Northern, said: “We have been working very hard with Network Rail to reopen the railway at Petteril bridge following the freight train derailment in October.
“Work will be completed next week and Northern train services will be able to resume on both the Tyne Valley and Settle to Carlisle lines. We’d like to thank our customers for being patient during this disruption and everyone involved in getting our passengers moving again.”
Image credit: Network Rail