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Flooding reported in Carlisle area after downpours

Weather wreaked havoc across Cumbria yesterday after a school closed and landslides left hundreds of people stranded on trains.

Thursday flood photo
The Gelt at Hynam, Castle Carrock, at about 3.15pm Thursday - 10ft higher than normal. Photo: John Miles

The West Coast Mainline through the county came to a standstill after torrential rain caused banks to collapse onto the track between Oxenholme and Tebay and south of Penrith.

Seventeen flood alerts were issued for the north west of England during yesterday afternoon, many for the same areas as those badly hit last weekend.

Firefighters dealt with flooding stretching from Carlisle to Barrow, while Cumbria police also issued warnings of flash flooding and surface water.

There were three landslides altogether, trapping two trains and leading to the cancellation of others.

Trains were initially halted both north and south on the trainline, as Network Rail sent staff to assess the site.

A spokesman said they had suspended all services, while officials worked to see if the track could be cleared.

One passenger said that as her train crawled along, she could see the adjacent track was under water.

She described how they inched their way from Oxenholme to Carlisle, repeatedly switching tracks depending on which was more flooded, eventually arriving in the city an hour late.

Virgin trains announced they had ordered buses to run between Carlisle and Preston, as trains already on the track were delayed by 60 to 90 minutes.

Already saturated ground and high rivers were unable to cope with the deluge and firefighters became inundated with calls to deal with flood incidents.

At one stage, between 2.20pm and 2.50pm, fire crews were dealing with incidents in Carlisle, Langwathby, Kirkoswald, Little Salkeld, Lazonby and Great Strickland.

Ravensbeck Bridge next to Lacey’s Garage at Kirkoswald, was closed following reports that it was unstable and elsewhere, more than 60 calls were logged.

Appleby Primary School flooded shortly after 3pm, with firefighters pumping out water to the pupils’ great excitement.

Headteacher Rachel Pearson said the school’s nursery and reception class were based in a separate unit from the rest of the school, and ended up under two or three centimetres of water.

The school is closed to pupils in all year groups today.

Hazardous road conditions were reported on the Cumbrian stretch of the M6, with visibility reduced to almost nothing.

Police believe the weather was the cause of a four-vehicle collision on the A66 near Appleby, at 2pm yesterday.

A Mercedes tanker was involved in the collision with three cars. No one was injured, but the road was partially blocked.

A spokeswoman for Cumbria Constabulary said the majority of major flooding incidents had occurred in the Barrow and Kendal areas, but road conditions were treacherous across the county.

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Have your say

Dredging isn't common and wouldn't help much. It isn't done much these days as it ruins the river ecology and is a waste of time - the stones soon build up again. There was an argument in Langholm for years about digging out the river bed and eventually about 400 tons of stone was removed, the following winter high waters deposited the same amount of stone in the same place...

The only points worth remembering are rivers will flood and flood defenses nearly always move the problem up stream.

Posted by alan brown on 1 July 2012 at 21:09

Dredging will not have a massive effect on Carlisle as the lower Eden is affected by the tide. Once the tide approaches its highest point the flood water literally has nowhere to go. This will be extremely prevalent during the highest 'spring' tides.
Our flood defences have greatly reduced the existing area of floodplain. The flooding we see now is in part a consequence of that action. You can not stop flooding, only minimise its effects.

Posted by Brian on 30 June 2012 at 00:34

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