Posted 16th February 2016 | 3 Comments
Engineers win race against time at flood damaged viaduct
THE ScotRail Alliance has confirmed that trains will be able to use flood-damaged Lamington Viaduct from Monday (22 February), after engineers had staged a race against time to save the bridge.
The structure was hit by floods caused by Storm Frank on New Year's Eve, and Network Rail engineers discovered that the viaduct had been so badly damaged by the surging waters of the River Clyde that it had come close to collapse.
It had been feared that the West Coast Main Line would remain closed north of Carlisle until the beginning of March, but engineers worked round the clock to renew the structure and have managed to complete the work ahead of schedule.
Among the problems they encountered were damage to the second pier, which needed new steel bearings and a concrete plinth, and the bridge deck was raised back into position a few days ago.
Their efforts have been helped by better weather and also the early arrival of the replacement bearings, which had to be specially manufactured.
ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster said the project had been 'hugely challenging', because it had involved 'working out in the Clyde through the worst of January's storms in a race against time to save the structure'.
He added: "Our engineers have faced atrocious conditions throughout this project and I am really proud of their hard work and their absolute commitment to getting the line open again.
"I really do want to thank customers for their patience, and our industry partners for the close cooperation shown over the last two months. By working together we have been able to help limit disruption for passengers by providing diversionary routes for many of the affected services."
Passenger and freight trains were diverted via Dumfries where possible but passengers had faced longer journey times, with replacement buses also being used.
The job is one of several emergency Network Rail projects to repair damage caused by savage winter weather, and although services on the West Coast Main Line should return to normal after the weekend, the region's rail troubles are not over. The Settle & Carlisle route is expected to remain blocked north of Appleby for some months after an embankment slip in early February, which involved more than half a million tons of rock and soil.
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