Glasgow & West Scotland

Services resume on West Coast Mainline after viaduct repair

Train going over mended viaduct
Image caption A Virgin west coast train crosses the Lamington Viaduct for the first time this year

Train services on the West Coast Mainline have resumed after the completion of major repairs to the Lamington Viaduct.

The Victorian-built structure was severely damaged in a storm on New Year's Eve and was close to collapse.

Engineers worked round-the-clock to stabilise the structure, with the repairs completed two weeks early.

The closure had affected passengers travelling between Carlisle and Glasgow since the beginning of January.

Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, said: "I am delighted our engineers have been able to complete this vital job earlier than scheduled and get passengers back onto the West Coast Mainline.

"We appreciate the understanding customers have shown throughout the recovery operation.

"I am very proud of the hard work and commitment of our engineers who have had to contend with extremely challenging conditions at Lamington - battling against the elements and clock to save this important structure from collapse."

Image copyright Huw Williams
Image caption Passengers travelling between Carlisle and Glasgow have experienced delays since the viaduct was damaged during Storm Frank
Image caption A series of ties have been placed into the stone-structured Lamington Viaduct

The ScotRail Alliance said part of the Lamington viaduct was left "on the brink of failure" by flood damage caused by Storm Frank.

It said floodwater scoured out much of the foundations of the second pier.

The seven-week engineering project to fix it involved diverting the Clyde and stabilising the viaduct.

Virgin Trains put on shuttle services which followed a local line through Dumfries - but it added extra time to each journey.

'Engineering challenge'

Claire Perry, UK government Rail Minister, said: "When I visited the Lamington Viaduct in January I saw first-hand the scale of the engineering challenge and the dedicated Network Rail team working round-the-clock to resolve the damage.

"In difficult conditions, they have managed to re-open ahead of schedule, and I'm grateful for the patience of customers who were disrupted and to the staff who adapted remarkably."

The Scottish government's Transport Minister, Derek Mackay, said he was "pleased" to see the "resumption of the vital passenger and freight services that rely on the West Coast Mainline".

"I would particularly like to praise the efforts of all those people who have worked on securing and rebuilding the structure, especially amid the challenging weather conditions that we have experienced this winter," he said.

Last month, it emerged a train was allowed to cross the viaduct at high speed, after it suffered damage but before the closure decision.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) is investigating the incident.

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