West Coast main line returning to normal after record river levels contribute to flood delays


The West Coast main line is returning to normal today (Thursday) after floods caused severe delays yesterday.

The River Avon at Rugby recorded its highest ever level at 10pm on Wednesday (9 March), peaking at 3.6m, following heavy rain. This beat the previous high of 3.53m in April 1998.

Localised flooding occurs if the river hits 1.08m. Levels rose significantly throughout yesterday. At 6am the river was at 1m and by 6pm that depth had more than tripled.

Several sections of railway flooded, including two tunnels south of Rugby, which were continuously pumped out by Network Rail’s orange army for several hours. More than 50 men and women from Network Rail were on the ground to pump water away from the affected areas and carry out essential safety checks. Temporary speed restrictions were put in place to keep trains running safely through the affected locations.

Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, said:

“The heavy rain overnight and throughout the early hours caused levels of the River Avon to rise to record levels and several sections of the railway were flooded. Our engineers were out in force with equipment to pump water away from the tracks and keep trains moving as best as possible.”

Contrary to reports, Euston station was extremely busy but British Transport Police were not required to form human barriers.