Posted 6th March 2013 | 6 Comments

Line wrecked by colliery slip could reopen by June

NETWORK RAIL has said that the damaged line which runs past Hatfield Main Colliery near Doncaster could reopen by the end of June, but more investigations must be carried out first before the schedule can be confirmed.

The company had previously been unable to give any date for restoring train services east of Doncaster, towards Scunthorpe and the east coast, after a colliery spoil heap began to move in the second week of February, demolishing the track and associated infrastructure. The movement has now stopped, and work is underway clearing wreckage from the site, where several hundred metres of new four-track railway will be needed.

Emergency timetables have already been worked out until May, with trains being diverted or in some cases replaced by buses.

Phil Verster, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “I want to thank passengers and our freight customers for their patience in this difficult time. In recent days it has become apparent that the damage to the railway is a lot worse than we originally thought and the repair work will be more complex. Clearly our priority is to get rail services running again as quickly as possible but we need to do so safely.

“The complexities of this job mean that it will take 16 to 18 weeks to complete, approximately until the end of June. However we will not be in a position to confirm this timeline until more extensive investigations have been completed in the next few days. We will do everything possible to reduce the time it will take to get the railway back.

“We are working closely with the train operators to minimise the disruption to passengers. We have also completed work which will better allow the flow of essential coal and steel freight trains to run from Scunthorpe and Immingham.”

Northern Rail area director Richard Allan added: “During the forthcoming weeks, keeping passengers informed and on the move is our priority. We’ve been working closely with our colleagues at Network Rail and First TransPennine Express to ensure they are aware of how this disruption can affect their journey. We will continue to keep passengers updated at our stations and on our trains as well as online via our website and Twitter feed. I’d like to thank everyone for their continued patience as this essential work is carried out and the line returned to us as soon as possible.”

Reader Comments:

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

  • Roger Capel, Sheffield

    Anyone thought of helping long distance Grimsby & Cleethorpes passengers by putting a temporary service on going from Sheffield, up Nunnery Bank & along the former M&SLR mainline to Wrawby Junction (Barnetby)? I gather that TPE is already using it for empty class 185 workings as changeovers for those on Scunthorpe - Cleethorpes workings. Admittedly, the singled sections between Gainsborough & Wrawby would be a pain, but we wouldn't be talking about a frequent service.

  • Paul Hepworth, York

    Reminds me of the time that the hill above the down side at Harringay (ECML London suburbs) began to slip, and caused the Down Slow 2 to heave up by a couple of metres. We were in the throes of the KX suburban electrification at the time, and quickly carried out some temporary track & signalling work to give ECS trains and alternative access to Ferme Park down sidings. Notice now the giant double row of sheet piling at the site.

  • Chris Neville-Smith, Durham, England

    "Could be a good opportunity to close this loss-making line and re-route traffic via the Hull/York and ECML."

    You might want to look at a map before making such a poorly thought out suggestion. May I ask how many stations you intend to close. I would quite happily explain how stupid an idea it is to re-route existing trains on to the East Coast Main Line, were it not for the fact that I cannot find any semi-viable route that would go that way anyway,

    Are you by any chance getting your ideas from a certain organisation (quite popular in Woodford Halse) whose solution to any rail problem is invariably to pack more and more and more and more trains on to existing lines, no matter how congested?

  • Michael, London

    Odd as this section of railway track bed could have been fixed/resolved within 48 to 72 hours. Simply pile drive pillars into the ground (100m's+) and then place pre-Fab re-inforced concrete sections between the pillars and then a track bed, if the CHINESE can build 2500km in under 4 years, we in UK should be able to cope with a few hundred metres in a few days.
    THERE WILL BE NAYSAYER's - but they are the same (added to a backward's government) as to why HS2 will take 2 decades, not 2 years to construct - ie: It SHOULD be opened by now, with 4 tracks between Old Oak Common and B'ham.

  • John Buckeridge, Woodford Halse

    Could be a good opportunity to close this loss-making line and re-route traffic via the Hull/York and ECML.

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    I notice from your photo in the article, the big slag heap in the background. I also note that the winter rain had stopped in the last 3 weeks. It would be interesting to know every single detail about the investigation of the problem and its solution. I trust Railnews will keep us informed.