West Highland line reopens for passengers

The West Highland line reopened for passengers this morning following the successful completion of repair works between Fort William and Mallaig.

The line had been closed by damaged tracks at Lochailort after extreme rainfall caused a nearby stream to overflow and wash-away a section of the railway embankment beneath the line.

Engineers worked around-the-clock to replace more than 1,600 tons of material washed away by the flash-flood on June 25 and to install new under-track drainage systems and relay over 80metres of track.

Work was carried out to improve drainage on third-party land to reduce future risk to the railway and the project team also improved the flood defences of a nearby lineside neighbour affected by the extreme weather.

Liam Sumpter, Network Rail Scotland route director, said: “With the easing of lockdown and the reopening of the tourism sector, it was vital that we completed these repairs quickly to help support the local economy in the West Highlands.

“The line had been extensively damaged and our engineers have been working around-the-clock to reopen the railway for our customers.

“I’d also thank our contractors – QTS and Story – for their close collaboration during this project, which has been vital to getting passengers moving again.”

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