Buxton to Hazel Grove railway line reopens after landslide

Engineers working on the embankment at Middlewood. Photo: Network Rail.
Engineers working on the embankment at Middlewood. Photo: Network Rail.

The railway line between Buxton and Hazel Grove has today (Saturday) fully reopened, following weeks of disruption caused by flooding.

The completion of emergency repairs means direct services between Buxton, Stockport and Manchester have resumed in both directions for the first time since June 11.

Around 6,000 tonnes of material was dislodged following the flash flooding a fortnight ago when about two inches of rain fell in less than two hours, causing a landslide near Middlewood Station.

In order to reopen the railway, Network Rail’s ‘orange army’ has worked non-stop to repair the damage, rebuilding a section of embankment and removing track and ballast – the stone which provides the foundation of the railway.

Terry Strickland, area director for Network Rail, said: “The heavy rain that we experienced caused a significant amount of damage that required extensive repairs.

“The landslip and wash away of material meant that it was impossible to run trains through the area and a temporary closure of the line was unavoidable.
“We have worked closely with Northern to keep disruption to the public to a minimum and I’d like to thank passengers for their patience while we carried out these essential repairs.”

A road rail vehicle working on the site of the landslip at Middlewood. Photo: Network Rail.

A road rail vehicle working on the site of the landslip at Middlewood. Photo: Network Rail.

Alex Hynes, Managing Director for Northern, added: “As an operator, we regularly deal with exceptional weather conditions such as heavy rain which unfortunately can cause disruption for our customers.

“The good news is we are able to start running services again from Saturday following the completion of a mammoth engineering task by Network Rail.

“We would like to thank our customers for their continued patience.”

While the emergency repairs were completed, Northern was only able to operate hourly trains between Buxton and Furness Vale, with rail replacement transport connecting passengers with services at Hazel Grove and New Mills Central.

Work near the embankment at Middlewood. Photo: Network Rail.

Work near the embankment at Middlewood. Photo: Network Rail.

Damaged track at Middlewood station after flash floods. Photo: Network Rail.

Damaged track at Middlewood station after flash floods. Photo: Network Rail.

Work ongoing at Middlewood to repair the landslip. Photo: Network Rail.

Work ongoing at Middlewood to repair the landslip. Photo: Network Rail.