die belebende Bedenkung

Chiltern severance at Harbury

with 3 comments

A “350,000 tonne” landslip at a cutting adjacent to Harbury Tunnel on the Chiltern Main Line on January 31 is expected to prevent any rail traffic between Leamington Spa and Banbury for several weeks.

[BBC News]

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 photo, Harbury landslip, annotated

Network Rail photo, Harbury landslip, annotated

[Network Rail Notes to editors]

The cutting forms the approaches to Harbury Tunnel, and is excavated to depths of up to 30 metres through inter layered mudstones and limestone.

Network Rail been carrying out stabilisation work at the site after a much smaller landslide elsewhere at the site on 14 February 2014. These works were underway when the slope failed at 14:30 on Saturday 31 January. No one was injured when the landslide happened.

We are working with local landowners to gain access and plan the safe removal of materials – initial investigations suggest that up to 350,000 tonnes of earth and rock will need to be removed.

This line carries long-distance services for Chiltern Railways and CrossCounty Trains, as well as substantial freight services.

Bus replacement services are running between Leamington Spa and Banbury and a revised service is in effect between Banbury and Marylebone, Birmingham and Leamington Spa, and Stratford upon Avon and Leamington Spa.

Passengers using Chiltern Railway and CrossCountry services are asked to check the National Rail website before travelling at

Freight services are being diverted via the West Coast Main Line, Acton and the Great Western Main line.

Dawlish, Kings Cross, Harbury. Perhaps it might be a good idea to have a thorough and independent investigation of Network Rail’s monitoring, planning, and management processes.

Written by beleben

February 5, 2015 at 11:34 am

3 Responses

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  1. Have they considered a Tesco tunnel (preferably one that won’t collapse) or “avalanche” type shelter? When you are in a hole, keep digging.


    February 5, 2015 at 3:31 pm

  2. Of course a 16mile (or thereabouts) link between Bishops Itchington and Brinklow, which I have suggested previously, would provide an alternative route to Harbury and offer many other benefits.


    February 5, 2015 at 4:13 pm

  3. Network Rail governance is the problem. The “top-down” approach used by DfT is not working.


    February 5, 2015 at 4:14 pm

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