BUSES will replace trains for a short period in west Cumbria – after a railway bridge was damaged by high winds and waves.

Rail passengers travelling along the Cumbrian coastline are advised to check before they travel while emergency repairs are made to a damaged underbridge at Parton. Work is expected to last until March 23.

The bridge was lashed on Thursday by 60mph winds and huge waves driven by 10m high tides.

The angry onshore swells hurled rocks from the beach cracking the walls and ceiling of the bridge and destabilising the railway above. And a section of ground has also given way just inches from the railway.

Network Rail halted trains to keep passengers safe while urgent steps were taken.

Bus replacement services are in operation between Whitehaven and Parton until engineers can shore up the structure to allow train services to continue.

Phil James, route director for the North West said: “I am sorry for the disruption experienced by West Cumbrian passengers following damage to the bridge at Parton after yesterday’s high tides.

“We’re working very hard to make the necessary repairs to reopen the line to passenger and freight trains while still competing with high tides.”

Engineers are still competing with high tides to carry out inspections of the structure. Once complete emergency repairs will be carried out throughout the weekend and into next week.

Chris Jackson, Regional Director for Northern, said: “Our colleagues at Network Rail are working around the clock to repair the damage and get the railway up and running again.

“In the meantime, I’m calling on all Northern passengers to be patient and plan their journeys carefully. We’ve introduced temporary timetables on the Cumbrian Coast line so trains will not be running at the usual times.

“We’re doing all we can to keep people on the move and will reintroduce a full service as soon as possible.”