West Coast Main Line To Remain closed until March

  • Viaduct severely damaged by Storm Frank on New Year’s Eve.
  • Structure now stabilised, but further damage delays opening until the first week of March.
  • Rail companies working together to keep people and goods moving.

The ScotRail Alliance* today confirmed that the Lamington Viaduct, which has been closed since it was severely damaged by Storm Frank, has suffered further damage, meaning that it will not reopen until the first week of March, 2016.

Engineers have been working around-the-clock to divert the Clyde – using over 1,500tons of stone to dam part of the river – and stabilise the structure after the viaduct’s second pier was left on the brink of collapse when floodwaters scoured out much of its foundations.

Having successfully stabilised the damaged pier last Wednesday (January 13) by pumping over 300 cubic meters of fast-setting concrete into the void, engineers have now been able to conduct structural checks on sections of the viaduct it was previously too unsafe to inspect.

It was initially hoped that work to reinstate the viaduct would have been completed by February 1. However, the latest inspections have shown that:

  • Continued bad weather and high water levels have caused structural damage to another pier on the viaduct
  • Three steel bearings, which support the bridge deck and track have been damaged
  • The damage to the foundations is worse than previously thought, requiring more time and significantly more work to properly stabilise the structure.

Phil Verster, Managing Director of the ScotRail Alliance said: “The damage caused by Storm Frank to the Lamington Viaduct has been very serious. Our engineers have been in a race against time to get the structure stabilised and prevent it from collapsing into the Clyde. Only now that we have won that race can we really see the full extent of the damage.

“The damage from the floodwaters is significant. We have had to use hundreds of tons of rock to divert and reduce the flow rates at the piers and an extraordinary amount of concrete just to stabilise the second pier. Unfortunately the scale of the damage and the complex nature of the engineering challenges means that the repair is going to take longer than we initially thought.

“All of the train companies who operate services on the West Coast Mainline are working together to make sure that we keep goods and people moving. The temporary timetables and arrangements that have been in place for the past couple of weeks are going to have to continue. That is why it is so important that anyone who is travelling on this route checks their travel details before they travel. All the companies have information on their websites and have staff ready to answer any questions you might have.

“I know that the damage that Storm Frank has caused to this viaduct is impacting on a lot of people. We are doing everything we can to get the repairs done and the line reopened quickly and safely.”

Phil Bearpark, Virgin Trains’ Executive Director for Operations and Projects, said: “Safety is our priority and we fully support Network Rail in their work to repair the Lamington viaduct.

“We have worked really hard with our industry partners in ScotRail and Network Rail to put a train diversionary service in place via Dumfries. This means that journeys take around an hour longer than normal but customers travelling between Glasgow and Carlisle are able to take a replacement train rather than a bus.”

Over the coming weeks, engineers will install additional concrete supports on either side of the second pier to strengthen the structure, before installing additional eight-metres-long  rock anchors / mini piles through the pier’s foundations to support the structure from a much wider and lower base.

Structural repairs to the third pier will also be completed and the course of the river widened – to reduce future water pressure on the structure – before the steel bearings are replaced, the viaduct bridge-deck realigned and the track re-laid.

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