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Network Rail has decided to close one of the two tracks through Unstone, Derbyshire for safety reasons, after the hillside above the railway near Chesterfield became unstable due to recent heavy rains.

The closure will disrupt rail services on some of the routes in the Sheffield and Chesterfield areas as passengers will face longer journeys and some service cancellations.

Network Rail engineers have been managing and monitoring the situation, with trains running through the area at reduced speed since the New Year.

Although Network Rail anticipates that the work could take between four and six weeks, an hourly direct service between Sheffield and London will be maintained.

"This decision has been taken to protect the safety of everyone who uses and works on the railway."

The new timetable starting 18 February includes East Midlands Trains services between Sheffield and St Pancras, which will operate with extended journey times.

East Midlands Trains services between Norwich and Liverpool services will split at Nottingham and run as two separate train services, while services between Sheffield and Nottingham will run an alternative route, calling at Langley Mill and Alfreton, and travelling through Beighton.

Northern Rail services between Leeds and Nottingham will begin and stop at Sheffield, while CrossCountry services will divert through Beighton with extended journey times.

Network Rail route managing director Phil Verster said: "This decision has been taken to protect the safety of everyone who uses and works on the railway.

"We have done everything possible to maintain a normal service through Unstone but the continuing poor weather and movement of the bank means we will need to close one of the tracks."


Image: Hillside movement at Unstone. Photo: courtesy of Network Rail.