England

Landslip on Chiltern Line: Rail route 'shut for weeks'

Aerial view of the landslide Image copyright Dave Brassington
Image caption Estimates suggest 350,000 tonnes of earth and rocks will need to be removed to make the area safe

A railway line closed by a landslip between Warwickshire and Oxfordshire is expected to stay shut for several weeks, Network Rail has said.

An estimated 350,000 tonnes of earth slipped at Harbury Tunnel on Saturday, closing the Chiltern Line between Leamington Spa and Banbury.

It affects Chiltern services between London and the West Midlands.

Network Rail said the landslide was still moving and repairs could only be carried out once the area is safe.

It said engineers were on site and remote sensors had been set up to monitor the earthworks.

'Inherently nasty'

Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said: "This is a very deep cutting built back in Brunel's day, which we have been repairing for some time."

Harbury Tunnel was the scene of a similar landslip last year.

Rail campaigner Hugh Jaeger, a former London Underground worker, said he believed that in opting to monitor the land rather than close the line and carry out extensive repairs in 2014, Network Rail had "postponed the inevitable".

He said the geology in the area was "inherently nasty".

Network Rail said stabilisation work had been under way at the site when the latest landslip occurred.

Image copyright Network Rail
Image copyright Dave Brassington
Image caption Network Rail said the land was still moving

A replacement bus service is running between Leamington and Banbury, adding about 90 minutes to journey times.

Chiltern Railways is also running revised services between London Marylebone and Banbury and between Leamington and Birmingham Moor Street.

Virgin Trains and London Midland are accepting Chiltern Railways tickets, the firm said.

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