Network Rail reopened one of the most important freight lines in the country on 20 April after an unprecedented 24/7 emergency repair operation designed to keep the lights on.
Nigel Adams MP said: “The flooding in February showed how important it is to respond immediately to flooding events when roads are closed, homes flooded and in this case the railway line delivering biomass fuel to Drax Power Station was damaged. Fortunately, Drax Power Station was able to continue to generate electricity because Network Rail responded immediately by introducing emergency operational procedures. I am delighted that Network Rail have now completed the repair of the embankment and the line is back to two track working."
- Divers, drones and helicopters deployed to monitor the railway line
- Over 90 trains per week still able to use route whilst repairs carried out
Chris Gee, Head of Operations for Network Rail’s North and East Route, said: “This was an unprecedented operation to deal with an unprecedented situation. Our teams have worked non-stop to make sure that crucial deliveries of biomass have been able to run despite severe flooding.
The emergency repair work cost £300,000 and included unconventional methods to make sure that the line could reopen as quickly as possible. This included using a team of divers to inspect structures which were underwater to check for damage, as well as flying drones and helicopters along the route to assess the extent of the damage.
Network Rail is now planning a £2.5million investment to improve the resilience of the line.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “Freight plays a vital role in ensuring critical food and supplies can continue moving smoothly at this challenging time. It is fantastic news that this important line has reopened, and once again I want to thank frontline staff for their efforts.”
Drax CEO Will Gardiner said: “The teams who worked tirelessly at Network Rail, on the UK rail freight system and at Drax to ensure deliveries of sustainable biomass were maintained throughout the repair work, so we can continue to generate the power the country needs during the Covid-19 crisis, have done a tremendous job.