Drone shows Victorian-built railway getting 21st century upgrade

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Drone images have been released showing how the West Coast main line is being secured from landslips in Warwickshire.

An unstable Victorian-built railway embankment is being strengthened as part of a £3.5 investment by Network Rail.

Since the railway’s construction in the 1850s there have been repeated landslips at Hopsford Hall.

This has caused costly delays to passengers and freight travelling between Nuneaton and Rugby.

Now the 1km long section of embankment which runs parallel to the Oxford Canal is being strengthened to improve future rail journeys.

Aerial shot showing digger strengthening Hopsford Hall embankment Spring 2021.

The work making it fit for the 21st century includes:

  • Construction of 300m of rebuilt embankment
  • Installation of a 100m retaining wall
  • 1km of improved drainage systems

James Dean, Network Rail’s West Coast South route director, said:

“When navvies built this section of railway over 170 years ago it was an amazing feat of engineering. However, they didn’t have the know-how and technology we do now, and it’s time we fix the problems of the past.

“This essential investment to strengthen this embankment at Hopsford Hall will make the West Coast main line more reliable for the future and is all part of our commitment to build back better as the country emerges from the pandemic.”

Tim Shakerley, Freightliner’s European Engineering & Operations Services director, said:

“The West Coast main line between Nuneaton and Rugby is a core artery for Freightliner services. Intermodal services from ports at Southampton, Felixstowe and London Gateway utilise it to access inland terminals in the North West and Scotland, whilst bulk deliveries from the Peak District move aggregate and cement South. We welcome Network Rail’s investment in the infrastructure which will allow us to continue to provide high performing, low carbon sustainable services to our customers”

Work began in October last year and is expected to be complete in late spring 2021.

For more information on how Network Rail deals with moving land beside the railway visit www.networkrail.co.uk/earthworks-cutting-slopes-and-embankments.

Photo credit: Network Rail

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