West Coast to the rescue after landslip

WEST Coast Railways rescued a ScotRail DMU that was derailed by a landslip on the West Highland Line.

More than 1000 tonnes of stone and mud slid onto the track after the mountainside above the railway gave way due to melting snow overnight on Sunday and Monday, January 21 and 22.

Two-car Class 156 Unit No. 156458 was derailed by the mud and the line was closed to traffic.

Police were scrambled to the scene between Arisaig and Glenfinnan after a 999 call was made at 6.53am on the Monday.

West Coast Railways Class 37 No. 37516 waits to take the ScotRail Class 156 DMU away from the landslip site near Glenfinnan. NETWORK RAIL

ScotRail staff worked around the clock to remove the blockage and it enlisted the help of West Coast, whose summer ‘Jacobite’ daily steam service has become an integral part of the local tourist economy.

West Coast had maroon-livered Class 37 No. 37516 at Fort William on snowplough standby duty, and on the Tuesday it was sent out to retrieve the stricken train after it had been lifted back onto the track using specialist machinery. The DMU was taken back to Fort William.

It took four days to clear the debris from the line, which reopened the following Monday. Alternative transport was arranged for commuters in the meantime.

David Dickson, ScotRail Alliance infrastructure director, said: “The isolated location and steepness of the slope above, has made this a complex recovery operation and we are grateful to customers for the patience they have shown during this period of disruption.”

In another recent incident, West Coast’s Class 47 No. 47237 was used to retrieve some overhead wires on the West Coast Main Line, which had been blown down by storms.

The company also has a Class 37 based on standby at Inverness.

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