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February 22, 2016

UK’s West Coast Main Line reopens after Lamington Viaduct repairs

The UK's ScotRail Alliance has announced that passenger and freight services on the West Coast Main line (WCML) have resumed after the completion of major repairs to the flood-damaged Lamington Viaduct.

Lamington viaduct Feb 22

The UK’s ScotRail Alliance has announced that passenger and freight services on the West Coast Main line (WCML) have resumed after the completion of major repairs to the flood-damaged Lamington Viaduct.

The Lamington Viaduct was hit by floods on 31 December, with water from the River Clyde surging so high that it had almost brought the structure to the point of collapse.

Last month, the alliance reported that service on WCML would not resume until March, however, the viaduct reopened ahead of schedule following an intensive seven-week engineering project to save the structure from collapse.

At that time, engineers discovered that the viaduct suffered further damage due to the high water levels by the recent Storm Frank.

ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster said: "We appreciate the understanding customers have shown throughout the recovery operation."

"We can now get rail customers and rail freight moving again on this vital cross-border rail link, which is the western backbone of the network."

The first train over the newly repaired viaduct was the northbound Caledonian Sleeper service between London and Inverness.

Virgin Trains and First TransPennine Express services have also been resumed.

As part of the works, the engineers diverted the river with more than 1,500t of stone and stabilised the structure after the viaduct’s second pier had been left on the brink of collapse.

New steel bearings have also been equipped on the structure’s second pier and a new concrete plinth has been built on the top of the pier to support them.

UK Rail Minister Claire Perry said: "When I visited the Lamington Viaduct in January, I saw first-hand the scale of the engineering challenge and the dedicated Network Rail team working round-the-clock to resolve the damage.

"In difficult conditions, they have managed to reopen ahead of schedule, and I’m grateful for the patience of customers who were disrupted and to the staff who adapted remarkably.

"We can now get rail customers and rail freight moving again on this vital cross-border rail link, which is the western backbone of the network.

"Our record investment in the railways continues, along with regular maintenance and inspection, to ensure that they can withstand these unprecedented weather events."

It is reported that in the weeks ahead, activity on-site will continue with work to re-profile the river banks and re-shape the viaduct’s piers to further improve the flow of water through the structure.


Image: Trains resume services over Lamington Viaduct. Photo: courtesy of Network Rail.

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