Cumbrian coast

Railway in British Cumbria protected from landslips

Network Rail is carrying out a preventive measure to protect the railway in the north-western British county of Cumbria from landslips for the next 120 years. Last November a small section of the Victorian-built embankment collapsed after becoming saturated from water running off the surrounding landscape. Freight and passenger traffic suffered delays on the railway between Carlisle and Whitehaven.

Fifty thousand tonnes of earth are being moved by a 30 strong workforce using specialist diggers on the steep coastal slope at Lowca. This 4 million-pound investment, as part of the Great North Rail Project, forms part of a 153 million pund fund to keep 2,500 railway locations across the north safe and reliable.

Up to standard

Tony Butler, route asset manager for Network Rail, said: “The removal of such vast amounts of soil is a huge task in a challenging location, but is vital to help keep trains running on this economically important route. The carefully planned work is one of hundreds of Great North Rail Project schemes to make the railway in the north more reliable. Once this old Victorian infrastructure in Lowca is brought up to modern standards it will secure journeys on this stunning coastal line for generations to come.”

The significant embankment upgrade is part of a wider Network Rail commitment to improve the Cumbrian coast line for freight and passengers, with 8 million pound being invested on the route.
It follows a 3 million pound overhaul of three miles of track between Millom and Bootle last month.
The railway line between Whitehaven and Bootle will also be renewed in the summer.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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