A large landslip near Harbury Tunnel is to keep the line closed between Banbury and Leamington Spa for several weeks.
Network Rail specialist engineers are currently assessing the landslide – which is still slowly moving – to determine the scale of the problem. Remote sensing techniques are being used to monitor the landslide and remedial works will begin as soon as it is safe to do so.
Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail said:
“This is a massive incident and I am making sure we have all the resources we need to tackle this problem. Our safety precautions ensured the railway was shut before there was any risk to passengers. Looking forward, our focus is on making sure the site is safe before our engineers move any of the affected earthworks.
“We know just how important this key route between Birmingham and London is, for both passengers and freight. This is a very deep cutting built back in Brunel’s days which we have been repairing for some time. I can assure passengers whose journeys are being disrupted that we will do our utmost to restore their services as soon as possible. However, it may take several weeks to stabilise it before we can start some services.”
Network Rail will be working closely with the train operators on alternative services for the next few weeks, and will be able to give a clearer idea on timings within the next two weeks. We will provide further updates as our investigation and recovery work progresses.