Cumbrian Coast line reopened after storm damage repaired

Engineering locomotive passing over new sea wall at Parton.

The Cumbrian Coast line has reopened between Whitehaven and Workington after three consecutive storms forced the railway to close earlier this year.

A railway bridge at Parton was damaged beyond repair by Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge in March.

After 11 weeks, Network Rail teams have now successfully replaced the damaged underpass beneath the railway, strengthened the sea wall and re-laid the track.

While trains are now running on the line between Workington and Whitehaven, Network Rail teams expect to be on site for four more weeks to finish work to improve fencing and landscaping in the surrounding area.

Phil James, Network Rail.

Phil James, Network Rail’s route director for the North West, said: “The scale of the storm damage on the railway at Parton was significant, and I’m pleased that the Cumbrian Coast line is now available for essential passenger and freight services.

“Our teams have worked tremendously hard over the last 11 weeks to get the railway back up and running, and the upheaval that Covid-19 has caused in that time makes the focus and teamwork demonstrated by colleagues all the more impressive.”

While the railway was closed, work on sea defences scheduled for later this year was brought forward to minimise future disruption to passengers and freight. More than 36,000 tonnes of rock armour has been installed to protect the exposed section of coastal railway and mean more reliable journeys in the future.

Later in June, the line between Millom and Sellafield will be closed for nine days due to planned work to renew the track at Eskmeals, near Ravenglass for Eskdale station.

Chris Jackson, Northern.

Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern, said: “It’s great to be able to welcome our customers back onto trains along the whole of the Cumbrian Coast. Network Rail has done a fantastic job in not only repairing the damage, but also making improvements to the existing infrastructure.

“Our customers have already shown remarkable patience while the work was completed, but I ask them to please continue to be understanding as we work through the ongoing coronavirus crisis.”

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