Engineers have been inspecting the damaged caused following the derailment of a freight train in Carlisle this week.
An initial scope of damage to tracks, a railway bridge and line side equipment like signalling has been undertaken by Network Rail, who are working in conjunction with Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), to determine how several wagons left the track on the evening of Wednesday 19 October.
The wagons came to rest on an embankment and in the river Petteril just after 8pm. Nobody was injured in the accident, but the railway will remain closed in both directions for some time, as early estimations suggest that recovering the wagons and making the required repairs is likely to take weeks, rather than days. This will leave services between Carlisle, Newcastle and Appleby and Skipton majorly disrupted for a period, with rail replacement buses keeping passengers on the move.
Phil James, Network Rail’s North West route director, said: “On the rare occasions trains leave tracks like this it can cause extensive damage and unfortunately this incident is no exception.
“I understand this will be extremely frustrating for passengers who rely on this crucial rail link from east to west linking Carlisle and Newcastle, as well as south to Skipton. Across the rail industry we’re working hard to keep people on the move through rail replacement buses while we work as fast as we can to restore the railway for passengers and freight.”
Kerry Peters, regional director for Northern, said: “We are working closely with Network Rail to monitor the situation and provide the latest information to our passengers as to how they can still travel across the region. Customers should check before they travel and plan for longer journey times. We will provide updates on our website and via social media as soon as any new information about the recovery operation becomes known to us.”
Following the launch of the RAIB investigation into the derailment, a spokesperson for RAIB said: “We have launched an investigation into the freight train derailment which occurred at Petteril Bridge Junction, Carlisle yesterday evening (19 October). We currently have a team of five inspectors plus support staff on site. This team is gathering evidence and we will maintain a presence at the site as necessary, over the coming days.
“We are working in conjunction with other agencies to secure the vital evidence needed to help us understand what went wrong. Our inspectors are in the process of reviewing digital material from on-train data recorders, CCTV and infrastructure monitoring systems, as well as collecting physical evidence from the train and track involved.
“In accordance with our normal processes we have started releasing parts of the train. We will continue to release parts of the train and track in stages at the earliest opportunity, consistent with gathering sufficient evidence. A further update giving details of our investigation will be available on our website in the coming days.
For the latest updates on the recovery and repairs people can follow the Network Rail Lancashire and Cumbria Twitter account on @NetworkRailLC. For up-to-date journey information and detail on alternative travel please check www.nationalrail.co.uk.
Image credit: Network Rail