In November 2018, a section of a Victorian embankment collapsed onto the Cumbrian Coast line due to it being saturated by rainwater from the surrounding land.
Passengers and freight were delayed and one train was stuck in the mud from the landslip.
A team from Murphy was mobilised to free the train and reopen the line. A £4 million project was then put in place to prevent a recurrence. The height of the embankment – 50 metres – and its steepness posed real challenges to the team, as did the winter weather which, in this region, can be amongst the harshest in the British Isles.
The railway between Maryport and Whitehaven in Cumbria, built in the 1840s to a modest budget, runs tight along the shoreline between the Irish Sea and the Cumbrian Fells for most of its route.
At a particularly exposed headland near the village of Parton, the railway was built on a rock shelf cut into the toe of a 50-metre-high embankment.
The retreat of the glaciers after the last Ice Age has left a very difficult geology with the area consisting of a mixture of coal measures, assorted layers and lenses of clay, soft sand and broken rock. As a result, the railway has always been affected by the threat of disruption by rock falls and land slips.
On 4 November 2018, after a prolonged period of intense rain, 80 tonnes of rubble washed down the steep Parton embankment and blocked the railway, trapping a passenger train that had collided with the mudslide.
Within two hours of receiving an emergency phone call, Murphy was able to mobilise staff to assess the situation on site and to start releasing the train.
Tonnes of spoil was removed from the site
Hours between notification and mobilisation
Tonnes of stone was imported
Murphy is a multi-disciplinary specialist in the Transportation sector, working across rail, highways, aviation and ports to deliver sustainable solutions.From renewals to electrification, bridge building, highways and aviation, our award-winning team has extensive experience