Largs Line Closed due to Landslips

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D6130

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It has been reported on another forum that Ardrossan South Beach - Largs is closed ufn due to two landslips onto the line between Hunterston and Fairlie and one embankment slip below the line a little further South. Photos on NR and ScotRail Twitter show the slip nearest to Fairlie as being the most serious, with about 50 metres of line blocked and displacement of the OHLE. Apparently the hillside above the line is still moving, so repairs cannot be started yet.
 
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InOban

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Specialist earthworks, drainage and overhead power engineers are on-site continuing to assess the damage caused by landslips near Fairlie and West Kilbride. At Fairlie, thousands of tonnes of debris has been deposited over a 50m stretch of track.
With the hillside above the line still moving in places, we will need to continue to monitor the ground conditions before repair works can commence. Our engineers will be working around-the-clock over the coming days to make plans for the recovery of the line.

Thousands of tonnes they're saying.
 
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bramling

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Hard to avoid the fact that these rain or weather induced land slips are happening more and more frequently

To be fair the amount of rainfall recently has been manic. I know it’s winter, however here (Hertfordshire) it just seems to be constant rain, day after day. I can think of very little blue sky for pretty much as long as I can remember.

Perhaps Covid is just making it more conspicuous!

Anyone more expert in the field care to comment as to whether we are seeing more than usual, or whether it’s just perception?...
 

Scotrail314209

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Largs line now expected to be closed until the end of service on the 9th.

Trains terminating at Kilwinning with a shuttle bus operating, Ardrossan Harbour unaffected.

I wonder why they aren't using the turnback siding at Ardrossan South Beach, but I think it might've gotten into an awful condition.
 

waverley47

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To be fair the amount of rainfall recently has been manic. I know it’s winter, however here (Hertfordshire) it just seems to be constant rain, day after day. I can think of very little blue sky for pretty much as long as I can remember.

Perhaps Covid is just making it more conspicuous!

Anyone more expert in the field care to comment as to whether we are seeing more than usual, or whether it’s just perception?...

Climate change is making winters warmer and wetter, but with long dry spells in summer. Embankments dry out and crack over summer, and water gets into cracks more easily during winter. Not only that, but the type of rain we're getting is changing. More short bursts of very heavy rainfall running off hillsides and falling on already waterlogged ground in winter is what kills these Victorian embankments.

These sorts of things will happen more and more often as earthworks get older, and more heavy rain in a short time overloads drainage.
 

Bald Rick

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To be fair the amount of rainfall recently has been manic. I know it’s winter, however here (Hertfordshire) it just seems to be constant rain, day after day. I can think of very little blue sky for pretty much as long as I can remember.

Perhaps Covid is just making it more conspicuous!

Anyone more expert in the field care to comment as to whether we are seeing more than usual, or whether it’s just perception?...

I’m not an expert in the field (although the field near me is now more of a lake!) but figures from the environment agency show that in the last three months of 2020 Hertfordshire had between 150-180% of average normal rainfall. Ground water levels are the highest they have been for at least 3 years (at least)., and probably sincewinter 2012/3. The figures for January are due out next week.

It has been wetter than normal for over a year now, but that was on the back of a 2 year spell of being drier than normal. The change from ‘drier’ to ‘wetter’ coincided almost exactly with my water company issuing an early warning for a hosepipe ban. No danger of that this year!
 

MadCommuter

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Largs line now expected to be closed until the end of service on the 9th.

Trains terminating at Kilwinning with a shuttle bus operating, Ardrossan Harbour unaffected.

I wonder why they aren't using the turnback siding at Ardrossan South Beach, but I think it might've gotten into an awful condition.
According to Network Rail Scotland's Twitter, it has now been brought back in to use.
 
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Scotrail314209

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Seeing alternatives on the Scotrail app. They are now saying on the app that it's expected to be closed until 10/02/2020 but the description says no estimation.
 

Mitchei

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Hi all, new poster here.

I can confirm the turnback siding at Ardrossan South Beach is indeed currently in use. I witnessed a 'Largs' EMU enter it today to allow the service coming up from the Harbour to ener South Beach. The 'Largs' service then returned to the station awaiting the rail replacement bus before heading back to Glasgow.
 

Scotrail314209

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I think we should be thankful that there’s reduced passenger numbers, Largs services are generally busy throughout the day.

Have Network Rail did any updates on an estimate for this to be opened?
 

DannyMich2018

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I’m not an expert in the field (although the field near me is now more of a lake!) but figures from the environment agency show that in the last three months of 2020 Hertfordshire had between 150-180% of average normal rainfall. Ground water levels are the highest they have been for at least 3 years (at least)., and probably sincewinter 2012/3. The figures for January are due out next week.

It has been wetter than normal for over a year now, but that was on the back of a 2 year spell of being drier than normal. The change from ‘drier’ to ‘wetter’ coincided almost exactly with my water company issuing an early warning for a hosepipe ban. No danger of that this year!
I've noticed it the last two years. Both the end of 2019 and 2020 it was so wet I was unable to give the lawn one last cut around October. Was it summer 2018 we had a really dry hot spell for many weeks? Ironically the Lockdown first spell from March to May last year had fantastic warm dry weather here in the Midlands with wall to wall sunshine and little rain. Come July it went downhill fast!! Least it's getting lighter now, hate it when it's dark at 1600hrs!!
 

InOban

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They're now estimating several weeks. Still doing ground investigations and building a temporary access road. They haven't started moving the earth as I read the latest tweet from NR Scotland.
 

Scotrail314209

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There has been a lot of rain here over the last few days. The Largs line runs in cuttings and at a rather high level as it heads towards West Kilbride from Ardrossan. I wonder if the rain has had an impact on works.
 

Macwomble

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There has been a lot of rain here over the last few days. The Largs line runs in cuttings and at a rather high level as it heads towards West Kilbride from Ardrossan. I wonder if the rain has had an impact on works.

Latest update on the line https://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/news/customer-update-largs-line-landslip-recovery-works


Customer update: Largs line landslip recovery works​

Region & Route: Scotland’s Railway: Scotland
ScotRail services are set to be extended to West Kilbride from Monday, February 22, as engineers make progress on clearing the landslip damaged Largs line.

The line has been closed between Ardrossan South Beach and Largs since Friday, February 5, after heavy rain caused a series of landslips near Ardrossan, West Kilbride and Fairlie.

Engineers have been working around-the-clock to remove debris and fix damaged embankments – including repairing a 10m-long landslip below the line near Ardrossan and clearing over 300 tonnes of debris from the railway near West Kilbride.

Those works are on course to see repairs on the section of line between Ardrossan and West Kilbride completed this weekend.

Work will, however, continue beyond the weekend at Fairlie where a significant landslip outside the railway boundary has brought more than 4,000 tonnes of material onto the track, affecting a 100m stretch of line.

Engineers are currently working to clear the debris from the line and stabilise the slope above the railway.

Overhead power and track repairs will also be required at Fairlie before the line can fully reopen to Largs. Work at this location will take until late March to complete.

To keep passengers moving while these vital repairs take place, ScotRail is also running a replacement bus service between Ardrossan South Beach and Largs.

Liam Sumpter, Network Rail Scotland route director, said: “The severe weather we experienced on February 5 has caused significant damage to the railway.

“We expect to complete repairs to West Kilbride this weekend, allowing services to be extended from Ardrossan, but significant work is still needed before we can reopen the line to Largs.

“At Fairlie, our engineers are tackling a huge landslip with 4,000 tonnes of debris having fallen onto the track from a hillside above.

“We are working as quickly as we can to restore services for all our customers and thank them, and our lineside neighbours, for their understanding during these recovery works.”

David Simpson, ScotRail operations director, said: “We are doing everything we can to keep our customers moving, with replacement buses helping those making essential journeys while these vital repairs are carried out.

“Our colleagues in Network Rail are working hard to allow services to return to normal, and we are working closely with them to ensure the line is reopened as quickly as possible.”
 
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Scotrail314209

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Nothing running again today due to the sea wall at Saltcoats. Diesel shuttle in operation between Kilwinning and Ardrossan South Beach, with nothing to West Kilbride or Ardrossan Harbour.
 

Trackbedjolly

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Climate change is making winters warmer and wetter, but with long dry spells in summer. Embankments dry out and crack over summer, and water gets into cracks more easily during winter. Not only that, but the type of rain we're getting is changing. More short bursts of very heavy rainfall running off hillsides and falling on already waterlogged ground in winter is what kills these Victorian embankments.

These sorts of things will happen more and more often as earthworks get older, and more heavy rain in a short time overloads drainage.
Not sure where you are but the situation in Scotland is a bit different. Embankments are not as sensitive to periods of drying; the problem is more one of water runoff at track level due to drains being overwhelmed leading to washout and track undercutting. Summer periods of very heavy rains can be more devastating due to their intensity than prolonged winter rains and that applies especially to cuttings below fields such as in the case in question.
 

Scotrail12

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Was wondering why there were often trains in Central terminating at West Kilbride. Good to hear that the line is reopening.
 
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