Harbury reopens three weeks early

The main line between Leamington Spa and Banbury, which was closed on January 31 after a 350,000 tonne landslip near Harbury, has reopened.

Chiltern Railways’ 0515 Birmingham Moor Street-London Marylebone was the first passenger train to pass through the site.

Network Rail has reopened the railway less than six weeks after the landslip occurred, resulting in the full reinstatement of Chiltern Railway’s direct services between Birmingham and London Marylebone, CrossCountry’s services from the south coast to the north of England, and vital freight routes from Southampton port to the Midlands.

Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “The reopening of the railway, three weeks ahead of schedule, is welcome news for passengers and freight operators. It is also a testament to the hard work of hundreds of people who have worked 24 hours a day to make it possible.”

NR will remove more than 300,000 tonnes of material to regrade the slope of the cutting to make it more stable and less susceptible to landslips. The long- term repairs to the cutting are expected to take several months.

  • For more on this story, see RAIL 771, published on April 1

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