Posted 13th February 2013 | 4 Comments

Colliery landslip wrecks track near Doncaster

The wrecked tracks at Stainforth

The wrecked tracks at Stainforth

A SLIPPING colliery spoil heap has blocked a line in the north of England and the situation has yet to stabilise, Network Rail has warned.

No trains are running between Doncaster and Goole or Scunthorpe, and other services are being diverted. Engineers on the scene have been trying to find out why the heap has moved.

Network Rail said a driver first reported problems at Stainforth on Saturday. A spokesman explained: "We have been carefully monitoring the track near Hatfield colliery at Stainforth since Saturday afternoon (9 February) when a train driver reported a rough ride. Train services in the area have been carefully managed to protect safety.

“Unfortunately conditions have deteriorated and it is no longer possible to run services through the area."

Reports spoke of rail staff being warned to keep away from the affected stretch of line, as the problem worsened in the small hours of yesterday. Track has been displaced for some hundreds of metres, and Network Rail said the disruption to train services was likely to continue for some time.

Hatfield Main Colliery is run by Hargreaves Coal Services. A company spokesman said the tracks had been 'heaving'. He told the Sheffield-based Star newspaper: "Obviously we have teams and engineers in attendance and we have also brought in a number of external experts to conduct a detailed assessment.

“At this stage there is no way we can speculate on any causes, which is why we have brought in the experts, who are civil engineers, whereas our team are mining engineers.

“At the moment we are dealing with movement of the colliery tip. Once we have a clearer picture of what the causes are, we can decide what to do.”

Network Rail added: "Our engineers are working with the colliery to plan the safe repair of the trackbed and railway once the spoil heap has been stabilised. We understand it will take several days to complete the stabilisation work. At this stage it is not possible to say when direct rail services will resume. We will publish a timescale for the works as soon as possible and apologise to passengers for the inconvenience caused.”

The diversions in detail:

Buses are replacing trains between Doncaster and Goole/Scunthorpe, with journey times extended by up to 60 minutes
Services between Sheffield and Bridlington/Scarborough are being diverted via Selby, and will not call at Goole
Services between Doncaster and Scunthorpe are suspended

First Trans Pennine Express is running a limited service between Cleethorpes and Scunthorpe. Trains between Manchester Airport and Doncaster are not affected.

Special buses are running between Doncaster and Scunthorpe. There will be an hourly service in each direction, consisting of at least three buses.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    I agree, Tom. This is not weeks, and maybe not even months. We may be talking a very long time indeed. Depends on the problem but it could even be a complete closure with the line relocated. Its bad news not only for users of Stainforth and Hatfield Station but also the recently re-opened Hatfield Main Colliery.

  • Graham, Lincolnshire

    This is a huge disruption and will take all interested parties a long time to deal with. In the meantime, I wonder why NetworkRail are not running trains on the Brigg line. Apart from some freight there is no passenger service (apart from Saturdays) on this recently overhauled line.
    Not only would this benefit passengers from Northeast Lincolnshire linking them directly with Manchester, but would also give NR the opportunity to asses if Kirton Lindsey, Brigg and Gainsborough Central do warrant a decent hourly rail service.

  • Tom , Birmingham UK

    It'll require a major earthworks job to reprofile the colliery spoil tip, and probably some drainage measures to maintain lower groundwater pressures. We're talking months, not days.

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    Landslips are of course undetectable until they happen and are probably the biggest danger that trains face. Luckily this one doesn't seem to have been sudden but a gradual lifting of the area. For the track be lifted probably means that a build up of water is behind the problem, - and not sinking becuase of mining subsidence. But I don't think I've ever seen this before with the track lifted nearly 20 feet.

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