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Far North upgrade allowed rapid rail washout repair

Network Rail has revealed the unexpected emergency benefit of a 30 month long programme to upgrade the Far North Line in Scotland as it announced the completion of the £11M scheme.

The programme was aimed at replacing more than 57km of track but the contractor Stobart Rail was on hand to deal with a ground collapse during the work to enable the route to be reopened quickly.

The washout of the section of track at Loch Luichart occurred following heavy rain during the upgrade contract, Stobart was able to divert plant and resources working locally on the project to the site of the damaged track.

Stobart cleared debris from the site and stabilised the track in a rapid response to minimise the impact on passengers.

Network Rail head of maintenance Lindsay Saddler said: “We are committed to investing in the Far North line and between 2014 and 2019 we carried out more than £30M of work on the line – including £11M alone on the track renewals.

“The overall investment we have made includes renewing signalling systems and track sections across the route, improving earthworks and structures and work at level crossings to improve line-speeds and is all part of improving resilience and reliability in this part of the network.

“Although the Far North Line is not the busiest or highest profile part of our network, we realise and value the role that it plays in connecting isolated locations and the importance that it has in rural and remote communities it serves.”

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