Doncaster rail landslip ‘worst in 60 years’

Soaring cost: Twisted tracks caused by landslip.
Soaring cost: Twisted tracks caused by landslip.

TRansport Minister Norman Baker is demanding to be kept informed about progress in the battle to restore rail services affected by the landslip at Hatfield Colliery, near Doncaster.

Rail industry experts say the movement of the colliery spoilheap, which has wrecked the route between Doncaster and Thorne, is the worst in living memory.

Although Network Rail say it would take eight weeks to rebuilt the line at Stainforth, there is no way of knowing when they can start work because the tip has not yet been stabilised.

Mr Baker says he is concerned about the rail disruption and has asked for regular updates from Network Rail chiefs.

The disruption for passengers travelling between Doncaster and Goole and Scunthorpe means journey times have been extended by up to an hour as they take buses to and from their destination.

Sim Harris, managing editor of Rail News, the railway industry’s magazine, said: “Landslips themselves are not that uncommon and over the last year there have been quite a few because of the heavy rain that we have had.

“This one is certainly the worst in my recollection and you have to go back a long way to find anything of this nature. In 1953, there were floods along the east coast service near Newcastle, where bridges were washed away.

“I don’t think I have seen anything like this in recent memory. I don’t recall anything as serious as this. There is no end in sight. Until the ground stops moving, there is not much that Network Rail can do – their hands are tied.

“When it stops moving, it will take more than five minutes to rebuild four tracks of main railway. There are junctions that are involved which make it much more difficult.”

Freight services are now being directed through Lincoln and Brigg which has increased the amount of night time disturbance for residents of Bessacarr.