No end in sight to 'worst ever' train problems between Scunthorpe and Doncaster
THERE is no end in sight to the severe disruption a landslide has caused for Scunthorpe area rail passengers, according to a leading rail expert.
Sim Harris, managing editor at Railnews, the national newspaper for the British rail industry, says the landslide near Hatfield Colliery that is affecting thousands of North Lincolnshire rail passengers is the worst in decades.
The disruption for passengers travelling between Scunthorpe and Doncaster has seen their journeys extended by up to an hour as they take buses to and from their destination.
Work cannot begin repairing the track until the landslide stops moving – and officials at Network Rail say they have no idea when this will be.
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Mr Harris says it could be at least May before normal services resume.
Mr Harris said: "Landslips themselves are not that uncommon and over the last year there have been quite a few because of the heavy rain that we have had.
"There have been a lot of landslips that have not been rail-related, but some railways have been affected.
"This one is certainly the worst in my recollection and you have to go back a long way to find anything of this nature.
"In 1953, there were floods along the east coast service near Newcastle, where bridges were washed away.
"I don't think I have seen anything like this in recent memory. I don't recall anything as serious as this.
"There is no end in sight."
He says repairing the line will not be an easy task.
"Until the ground stops moving, there is not much that Network Rail can do – their hands are tied.
"When it stops moving, it will take more than five minutes to rebuild four tracks of main railway. There are junctions that are involved which make it much more difficult.
"Not only are both sides of the railway tracks wrecked, the foundations and drainage are a dog's breakfast, it is more than just a matter of the railway."
Freight services are now being directed through Lincoln and Brigg.
He said: "I understand there's no guarantee this will be over in eight weeks."