West Coast Mainline to reopen after viaduct repair
A major railway line between Scotland and England will reopen next week, following a seven week closure.
Network Rail closed part of the West Coast Mainline after storm damage severely weakened a viaduct in South Lanarkshire.
Part of the Lamington viaduct over the River Clyde was "on the brink of failure", according to the ScotRail Alliance.
They said train services will resume running over the bridge on 22 February.
In a statement, the alliance said the Victorian viaduct was "left close to falling in the River Clyde" by flood damage caused by Storm Frank on New Year's Eve.
They added that floodwater scoured out much of the foundations of the second pier.
A seven week engineering project, which involved diverting the Clyde and stabilising the structure, saved it from collapse.
Managing director Phil Verster said: "I understand the impact the closure of Lamington Viaduct has had on customers and our engineers have been working around-the-clock since its closure to finish the repairs and get trains back on the West Coast Mainline.
"This project has been a hugely challenging one - involving working out in the Clyde through the worst of January's storms in a race against time to save the structure.
"Our engineers have faced atrocious conditions throughout this project and I am really proud of their hard work and their absolute commitment to getting the line open again."
The closure of the viaduct has affected passengers travelling between Carlisle and Glasgow since the beginning of January.
Virgin Trains put on shuttle services which followed a local line through Dumfries - but it added extra time to each journey.
The viaduct will reopen ahead of schedule as repair work was expected to run into the beginning of March.
Phil Bearpark, executive director of operations and projects at Virgin Trains, said: "We're really pleased that Network Rail has announced that the West Coast Mainline will reopen later this month, ahead of schedule.
"We would like to thank our customers for their continued support and understanding, whilst the necessary repairs to Lamington Viaduct have been undertaken."
First TransPennine Express interim managing director Liz Collins said: "We know this disruption has been a difficult time for customers and our colleagues and we are grateful for their patience."
Last month it emerged that a train was allowed to cross the viaduct at high speed, after suffering the damage.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) is investigating the incident.