Leamington Spa to Banbury line opens three weeks ahead of schedule
13 March 2015 • Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review
The railway line between Leamington Spa and Banbury, which was closed due a 350,000 tonne landslip, has reopened three weeks early.
Network Rail has today reinstated the line six weeks after the landslip at the end of January. Services have now resumed on Chiltern Railway’s direct services between Birmingham and London Marylebone, CrossCountry’s services from the south coast to the north of England, and vital freight routes from Southampton port to the Midlands.
Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail commented on today’s reopening: “The reopening of the railway, three weeks ahead of schedule, is welcome news for passengers and freight operators. It is also a testament to the hard work of hundreds of people who have worked 24 hours a day to make it possible.
“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.
“I thank passengers and the residents of Harbury for their patience while we carried out this vital work. I can assure them that the ongoing repairs being made are long term solutions which will significantly reduce the chances of similar incidents in the future.
Rob Brighouse, Managing Director at Chiltern Railways, reacted to today’s reopening: “The Chiltern Mainline is a vital link for both commuters and business travellers and we are delighted to restore direct services between London and the West Midlands.
“Thanks must be given to our partners at Network Rail, who have worked tirelessly, day and night to make the area safe and to our passengers for their patience. During the closure we introduced a reduced fare structure and we can announce an extension of this for both day and season tickets until the end of April.”
Andy Cooper, managing director of CrossCountry said: “Getting the line open again before the large numbers of people expected to travel this weekend to visit their family for Mother’s Day is great news for our customers. We are thankful to Network Rail’s engineers for their tremendous efforts in beating their earlier estimate of an Easter reopening, and especially to our customers for their patience and understanding while the work was completed.”
The landslip occurred at the 150 year old Harbury cutting. The area, which has a history of landslips, has undergone major work to regrade the slope of the cutting. As a result more than 300,000 tonnes of material have been removed to stabilize the area. Long term repairs to the cutting are expected to take several months.
Timelapse footage of work carried out at Harbury cutting on the line between Leamington Spa and Banbury: