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Published on : Monday, December 28, 2015
Train passengers in flood-stricken parts of northern England were tonight advised to expect disruptions on the railway tomorrow .Northern Rail, the train company, has advised its customers not to travel unless absolutely necessary.
At first light tomorrow, before passenger services can begin, Network Rail needs to run ‘route-proving’ trains across all railway lines in the flood-affected region, including the West Coast main line between Preston and Carlisle, to ensure they are clear and safe.The first passenger services, due to run before it gets light, are likely be cancelled on the affected lines.
Additional members of Network Rail’s orange army have been drafted in to repair any railway flood damage tomorrow and to assess the condition of around 50 bridges and viaducts across Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire.
John Mahon, Network Rail’s route control manager, said: “We will be monitoring the railway throughout tonight and into the morning. With safety being our priority, we will run empty trains across Lancashire and Cumbria ahead of any passenger trains to check the lines are safe before we begin the morning’s services.
The line between Rochdale, Greater Manchester, and Hebden Bridge, in West Yorkshire, on the Leeds-Manchester route, will be shut tomorrow after severe flooding today left Walsden station in Lancashire under several feet of water.Only when the waters recede will Network Rail be able to fully assess the damage, but early indications are that floods from Walsden to Todmorden have destroyed electrical equipment used to power signals – the traffic lights of the railway.
Meanwhile the railway at Kirkstall, northwest of Leeds, was today 4ft under water. Services may be impacted tomorrow between Leeds and Bradford, Skipton and Bradford and between Leeds and Harrogate. The Skipton-to-Hellifield line may also be affected.
John added: “We have been able to get out to the flooding at Walsden and Todmorden today and we know we won’t be able to run trains on that stretch between Hebden Bridge and Rochdale on the Leeds-Manchester line. Because roads are shut due to flooding our engineers are having difficulty accessing other potential problem spots, however our control centre data suggests a lot of our power units, used to run signals, have been destroyed by floods.”
A spokesperson for Northern Rail said: “Weather conditions are expected to deteriorate overnight, particularly in Cumbria, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire and so we ask customers not to travel unless absolutely necessary.
“We are working closely with our colleagues at Network Rail to keep the disruption down to a minimum and will be examining the condition of all our routes first thing in the morning.“Following major flooding today in the Walsden area no train services will be running through this station or between Todmorden and Rochdale until further notice. We would like to apologise for the inconvenience this will cause to our customers.