Rail users warned of weeks of disruption due to land slippage

COMMUTERS travelling between Birmingham and London have been told they face weeks of disruption due to a major land slippage.

The Chiltern Mainline remains blocked between Banbury and Leamington Spa following the landslide over the weekend and Network Rail has now said repair work will take longer than previously thought.

Bus replacement services are running between Leamington Spa and Banbury and a revised service is in effect between Banbury and Marylebone, Birmingham and Leamington Spa, and Stratford upon Avon and Leamington Spa while the work is taking place.

Network Rail said engineers were still assessing the impact of the landslide – which is still slowly moving – to determine the scale of the problem. Remote sensing techniques are being used to monitor the landslide and it said remedial works would begin as soon as it was safe to do so.

Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “This is a massive incident and I am making sure we have all the resources we need to tackle this problem. Our safety precautions ensured the railway was shut before there was any risk to passengers. Looking forward, our focus is on making sure the site is safe before our engineers move any of the affected earthworks.

“We know just how important this key route between Birmingham and London is, for both passengers and freight. This is a very deep cutting built back in Brunel’s days which we have been repairing for some time. I can assure passengers whose journeys are being disrupted that we will do our utmost to restore their services as soon as possible. However, it may take several weeks to stabilise it before we can start some services.”

Network Rail said it would be working closely with the train operators on alternative services for the next few weeks, and would give a clearer idea on timings within the next two weeks.

“We will provide further updates as our investigation and recovery work progresses,” added Carne.

• Passengers using Chiltern Railway and Crosscountry services have been advised to check the National Rail Enquiries website before travelling.