• Engineering works to repair damage on West Coast Main Line likely to continue until end of January
  • Train Operating Companies working together to keep people moving
  • Customers urged to ‘check before they travel’

Customers travelling on trains to and from Scotland were today urged to check before they travel after it was confirmed that Lamington Viaduct, just outside Lockerbie, on the West Coast Mainline is to remain closed throughout January while engineers carry out repairs to the damage caused by Storm Frank.  One pier of the structure has been weakened and investigations into the full extent of the damage will continue until the end of next week.  At this stage it is anticipated the first trains will cross the viaduct Monday 1st February 2016.

Consequently journeys in the area will be altered, may be replaced by bus and will take longer than normal. Full details of the impact will be on each train operating company’s websites from today.

Working together, the train companies who operate routes affected by the damage to the Viaduct, have put in place plans in order to keep people moving during the works.

Phil Verster, Managing Director of the ScotRail Alliance and Managing Director of Network Rail Scotland said:

“Our engineers have been working round the clock for the past few days, in extremely difficult conditions, to try and gain access to the Viaduct so that we can understand the scale of the damage that has been caused by Storm Frank. While that assessment work is not yet fully complete, it is clear now that the damage is significant.

“We are already working on solutions as to how we get the Viaduct fixed and allow us to safely run trains over it again. However, it is likely that it will take us to the end of January until we can reopen it. If we can get it opened earlier, then of course we will. However, customers should plan for the work to continue until the end of the month.

“The train companies are working together to keep people moving. Ticket acceptance is in place on affected routes and our teams are geared up to answer questions about how people can best get to where they are going. The best advice is to check before you travel. We are all ready to answer your questions.”

Phil Bearpark, Executive Director of Operations for Virgin Trains on the West Coast said:

“We’re really sorry for the disruption this will cause to our passengers on the West Coast Mainline. Safety is always the most important consideration on the railway and we support Network Rail’s decision to close the West Coast Mainline between England and Scotland until they are sure it is safe to run trains.

“We will continue to provide a replacement coach service for passengers between Carlisle and Glasgow, and there is also an alternative train service running on a diversionary route – however this is a limited service and will also add around 90 minutes to the journey.

“Virgin Trains tickets are being accepted on our East Coast services between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh, and also on Cross Country services between Birmingham and Glasgow. Passengers should expect these services to be much busier than usual, and anyone who can postpone or cancel their journey should seriously consider doing so. We will of course give a full refund for anyone who decides not to travel.”

Paul Watson, Operations Director at First Transpennine Express said:

“The severe weather has caused significant structural damage to Lamington viaduct on the main route between Manchester and Scotland and Network Rail have rightly closed the bridge for safety reasons. Unfortunately events like this are outside of both our and Network Rail’s control.

“Whilst a full structural analysis has yet to be completed we are expecting the line to be closed for a significant amount of time, meaning potentially weeks rather than days.

“This is clearly a significant inconvenience for our customers and will cause longer and amended journeys.

“As an industry however we have been working hard to ensure that cross border travel is available. Customers are advised to either travel via the East Coast Mainline, changing from Manchester at York or Newcastle for services to Edinburgh or using the coach replacement services between Carlisle and Glasgow.

“We have lifted ticket restrictions and are strongly advising customers to check the details of their journey before travelling.”

A Virgin Trains East Coast spokesman said:

“We appreciate it’s been a frustrating time for our customers today and we thank them for their patience. We’ve worked hard with our industry partners to minimise disruption and keep the network running as best we can in the circumstances. This is always a very busy time for us. Our passenger volumes have been further increased from carrying customers from other routes affected by recent extreme weather. We advise customers that their booked services will be busier than expected.”

Latest Articles