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Rail chaos as major landslip closes line between Leamington Spa and Banbury

 

Rail chaos as major landslip closes line between Leamington Spa and Banbury

Engineers monitor stretch of line in Harbury area of Warwickshire after section of land around 160m long slips next to railway in 'dangerous' incident

A landslip in the Harbury area between Leamington Spa and Banbury
A landslip in the Harbury area between Leamington Spa and Banbury Photo: Network Rail/PA Wire
 
2:48PM GMT 02 Feb 2015
 

Rail passengers will face at least a week of disruption after a major landslip left around 350,000 tonnes of earth dangerously close to a railway track.

Engineers are monitoring a stretch of a line in the Harbury area of Warwickshire after a section of land around 160m long slipped next to the railway.

The landslide has forced the closure of the line between between Leamington Spa in Warwickshre and Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Network Rail said the site was "incredibly dangerous" because the slipped earth is still moving, making it unsafe for staff to even get to it to decide what needs to be done.

The slip happened at around 3pm on Sunday. No trains were on the line at the time and it was not covered by the earth.

Engineers have been at the site on Monday to examine the extent of the damage and to see how much it is still moving.

It is not known when it will be safe to begin work there, Network Rail said, and an assessment of the area may take several days.

Services between Manchester and Bournemouth and Newcastle, Reading and Southampton are being disrupted. Bus replacement services are operating between Leamington Spa and Banbury.

Chiltern Railway and CrossCountry services are expected to run to a revised timetable over the coming week, with passengers advised to check before they travel.

Network Rail said the area where the slip occurred was a known problem area that had high levels of ground water.

A spokesman said: "The railway line was not covered by earth but it is dangerous. There is machinery on the side that we have had to leave there as it is too dangerous to retrieve.

"It is an incredibly dangerous and active site at the moment, so we can't have any trains running through it. We can't even get on site to see what needs to be done. We need to wait for it to stop moving before we can get on to do assessments.

"If a train were to go past and the land slipped, a big disaster could happen.

"We are investigating the cause as to why this has happened. Something happened in the Harbury area in February 2014, so it is a known problem area. We suspect that it is to do with the elevated water level in the area."

The company apologised for the disruption.

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