Repair work following a landslip caused massive disruption on one of the UK’s busiest rail routes on Tuesday morning.
The landslip occurred on Sunday between Coventry and Rugby, blocking a section of the West Coast Main Line between London Euston and Birmingham New Street, Network Rail said.
Recent heavy rainfall caused soil from an embankment to move on to the track near the village of Church Lawford.
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Network Rail closed the line in both directions on Monday night to carry out repair work, and the line did not reopen until Tuesday afternoon.
Avanti West Coast and London Northwestern Railway services were affected, with some passengers facing delays of several hours on their journeys, with long diversions and rail replacement buses between Coventry and Northampton.
Phil Barnes, operations director for Network Rail, said: ”Network Rail engineers have been removing vegetation from the embankment to allow better assessment of the landslip near Rugby.
“A plan is now in place to remove soil before checking the track to allow services to run.
“To do this safely, we are closing both lines overnight on Monday and Tuesday morning. We are working to reopen both lines on Tuesday afternoon.
“Our team is working around the clock to get trains running again as soon as we can, and we are sorry for the disruption to journeys this is causing.”
The line reopened on Tuesday afternoon.
James Dean, route director for Network Rail, said: ”I’m sorry to passengers who’ve been affected by the closure of the West Coast Main Line while we completed emergency repairs to the landslip between Coventry and Rugby.
“I’m pleased to advise that we’ve reopened both tracks this afternoon – with a reduced speed limit – which means passenger and freight trains can run again.
“I want to thank passengers for their patience and ask those travelling to check www.nationalrail.co.uk for the latest journey information.”