Chiltern route reopens less than six weeks after 350,000 tonne landslip
The railway between Leamington Spa and Banbury reopened on 13 March. It was closed following a 350,000 tonne landslip at Harbury, a few miles south of Leamington Spa, on 31 January.
Network Rail originally said it would reopen the railway by Easter but subsequently confirmed it would better this date, meaning the route has been closed for repairs for less than six weeks.
The 05.15 Chiltern Railways service from Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone was the first passenger service to use the line. Chiltern and CrossCountry services have been replaced by buses during the closure, while freight services have been diverted via the West Coast and Great Western main lines.
Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said ‘Everything was done to reopen this essential line – which is relied upon by thousands of passengers every day and used to transport thousands of tonnes of freight – as safely and quickly as possible.’
Harbury cutting has suffered from landslips since it was built more than 150 years ago. Network Rail workers remain on site and will continue to remove material in order to regrade the slope of the cutting and make it more stable and less susceptible to landslips. The long term repairs to the cutting are expected to take several months.