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Railway Between Leamington Spa And Banbury To Reopen

Railway Between Leamington Spa And Banbury To Reopen

Network Rail Confirms Railway Between Leamington Spa And Banbury To Reopen Three Weeks Early On Friday 13 March

The key route between Birmingham and London Marylebone and Birmingham, the Thames Valley, south coast and the port of Southampton is used by 130 passenger and freight trains a day. It has been closed since 31 January following a 350,000 tonne landslip near Harbury, a few miles south of Leamington Spa.

Network Rail has worked 24 hours a day to repair the landslip and the railway will reopen less than six weeks after the landslip occurred.

Train services will begin to operate along the line from the start of service on Friday 13 March.

Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “Thousands of passengers, and thousands of tonnes of freight, rely on this vital route every day. We have been working around the clock and are able to reopen the railway three weeks ahead of the original estimate.

“Harbury cutting has suffered from landslips for more than 150 years. We have secured the cutting and made it safe and will carry out long term repairs which will significantly reduce the chances of similar incidents in the future.  I would like to thank passengers and the residents of Harbury for their ongoing patience while we fix the landslip and carry out further repairs ahead of the reopening.”

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “I am sure passengers well join with me in welcoming this news. Having seen the scale of the challenge, I congratulate Network Rail’s engineers on reopening the line faster than expected. There is, of course, a longer term task in trying to make sure this sort of disruption does not happen in future.  The impact this landslip shows the importance of making our railways fit for the 21st Century. That is why, as part of our long-term economic plan, more than £38 billion is being invested between 2014-19 to improve and maintain the nation’s railways.”

Rob Brighouse, managing director of Chiltern Railways, said: “Every working day over 10,000 journeys are made with Chiltern Railways between the West Midlands and London, so we applaud the tireless work undertaken by our partner, Network Rail, that has resulted in an early reopening date.

“The Chiltern Mainline is a vital link for both commuters and business travellers and while our step-straight-on replacement bus service has worked well, the restoration of direct trains between London Marylebone and Birmingham Moor Street will be welcomed by our customers.”

Andy Cooper, managing director of CrossCountry, said: “The early completion of the work is great news as we will again be able to provide through journeys by train for our long distance and local customers. We are grateful to Network Rail’s engineers for getting the line open again before the busy Easter holidays. The priority now is to rebuild our customers’ confidence in a reliable rail service, part of which will be the ongoing work to ensure such events are not repeated.”

A spokesperson for Freightliner said: “Freightliner looks forward to being able to recommence services after the landslip caused substantial disruption to freight services to the midlands, north east and north west.”

ORR chief executive Richard Price said: “ORR welcomes the reopening of the rail line between Leamington Spa and Banbury ahead of schedule. Network Rail has worked round the clock to reinstate this key route and worked closely with train companies to keep passengers well-informed while providing reliable alternatives to help them to complete their journeys. The company has committed extra funds to improve the resilience of the rail network for better reliability of services in the future and we will continue to monitor and report on its progress against these plans.”

A bus replacement service between Leamington Spa and Banbury will continue to be in use until Thursday 12 March. Passengers should check with their train operator or visit www.nationalrail.co.uk for the latest information.

Network Rail will remain on site for several months after the railway reopens as work continues on the cutting and additional investigations of the surrounding area. The section of railway which has not been used for the duration of the closure will be fully tested before reopening.

Discussions will also take place with local people regarding the final landscaping of the area around the cutting.

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