Landslip-hit Chiltern rail line 'to reopen next week'

Aerial view of the landslide Image copyright Dave Brassington
Image caption The line has been closed between Leamington Spa and Banbury since the landslide

A section of railway closed by 350,000 tonne landslip in January is due to reopen ahead of schedule.

It was thought the section of the Chiltern Mainline, between Leamington Spa in Warwickshire and Banbury, Oxfordshire, would be shut until Easter.

But engineers said the cutting had been secured and made safe.

The commuter route for passengers travelling from Birmingham to London Marylebone will open on 13 March.

It is also used by CrossCountry trains.

The line was shut after the landslip at Harbury Tunnel on 31 January. Network Rail said the cutting had suffered from landslips since it was built in the 1840s.

Chief executive Mark Carne said engineers had been working around the clock to make the site secure.

"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," he said.

The route is used by 130 freight and passenger trains each day.

Freight trains will begin using the route from 9 March. The replacement bus service which has been running between Leamington Spa and Banbury will continue to until 12 March.

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