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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Mammoth effort to reopen landslide line

A STRETCH of rail line where a landslide caused a train carrying more than 100 passengers to derail reopened today after extensive repairs.

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Rubble on the line: Network Rail engineers at the scene where a train was derailed north of Nethertown in west Cumbria

The service had to besuspended following alandslip one mile south of St Bees on Thursday, which derailed an early morning Maryport to Lancaster train.

There were 102 passengers, mostly Sellafield workers, and crew on board the Northern Rail service but none was injured.

Network Rail says speed restrictions may cause slight delays but services should run normally from today.

The derailment was caused by torrential rain which also brought flooding chaos to roads in the area.

The hillside alongside the single-track section collapsed onto the beach,taking part of the track bed with it.

The leading wheels of the two-coach train were derailed but the carriages remained upright. Repairs to the line involved steps to strengthen sea defences.

Engineers for Network Rail have worked flat out since Thursday afternoon to clear the landslide.

Bosses sat it was a difficult task for those involved as there is no road access to the area meaning that equipment had to be brought in by train.

Work on the sea defences involved putting rocks, weighing three tonnes, on the shoreline.

While work was being carried out, trains between Whitehaven and Sellafield ground to a halt.

The landslide happened when flash floods hit west Cumbria causing a trail of devastation.

A spokesman for Network Rail said that there were talks about using a helicopter to transport equipment to repair the line due to its remote location, but this was not necessary.

Disaster struck at 6.45am on Thursday.

Terrified passengers said that the carriages rattled and bumped before grinding to a halt.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch immediately started an investigation.

Coaches transported passengers between Whitehaven and Sellafield while the work was carried out on the train line.

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