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Landslide closes Highland rail route for four days

glenfinnan2 crop

Scot Rail has said that train services between Glasgow Queen Street and Mallaig will be cancelled or revised until at least Thursday following a landslide this morning.

The incident occurred between Glenfinnan (pictured) and Lochailort this morning and the front carriage of a train was derailed by landslide debris which reached the track.

A Scot Rail spokesman said: “The 6.03am Mallaig to Queen Street hit a landslide and is currently trapped with five passengers on board. No injuries reported.”

network rail scotland pic

Source: Network Rail Scotland

An image of the derailed train shows rock fall attenuation fences alongside the line suggesting that slope stability was already a concern at the site. However, it appears that the incident involved a mud flow type of failure rather than a rockfall.

Trains between Glasgow Queen Street and Mallaig are terminating at, and starting back from, Fort William and a replacement bus service is in operation to keep passengers on the move between Fort William and Mallaig.

A spokesman for Network Rail Scotland said: “At the moment we are assessing the extent of the damage.

“We have specialist geotechnical engineers onsite who will assess the slope above the railway to see if it is stable.

“We have track engineers on site with heavy equipment to dig the mud away from the train once we know it is safe to do so.”

He added “At this moment in time it is hard for us to estimate how long the line will be closed.”

ScotRail Alliance infrastructure director David Dickson added: ”Our engineers are on-site assessing the damage and working to put plans in place repair to the line.

“We will reopen the railway as soon as possible, but significant work is required to clear the line and stabilise the slope above.”

Network Rail confirmed on Monday evening that work to clear the site was expected to start on Tuesday and will take several days to complete.



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