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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Battle to get West Cumbria rail line reopened

It is hoped the West Cumbria coastal railway line, closed after tidal surges destroyed 400 yards of sea wall and track, will reopen on Monday.

The line between Workington and Carlisle has been closed since Friday after high tides washed away parts of the wall and rail track between Siddick and Flimby.

Rail workers are spending 24 hours a day trying to get the line reopened.

Network Rail hope to have the line reopened by Monday morning.

Around 50 workers have been working in 12 hour shifts to rebuild the sea wall and reinstate the track.

Four thousand tonnes of rock has been transported from a quarry in Shap, near Penrith, to rebuild the sea defences.

Martin Frobisher, Network Rail area director, said: “We are very keen to get it running again as quickly as we can, but you can see the scale of the damage - it’s a huge piece of work.

“When railways follow the sea so closely, for many it is an ongoing battle to maintain the sea defences.

“There is a huge amount of damage. We are working round the clock to reinstate the railway and our priority is get the services running again.”

He added that further work to improve the sea defences will be carried out in the future.

The line between Carlisle and Barrow was closed on Friday at around noon when the high tide was forecast.

Around 200 yards of sea wall collapsed at Siddick after a tidal surge breached the defences and washed away both sides of the track.

Another 200 yards of wall was destroyed near Flimby and ballast - crushed stone around a train track - swept into the sea.

Services between Workington and Barrow resumed on Monday but replacement buses are still in place between Workington and Carlisle.

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