Derbyshire rail line to Manchester reopens after closure over dam collapse fears

Rail lines to Manchester have re-opened
Rail lines to Manchester have re-opened

The Hope Valley rail line to Manchester has reopened this morning – after it closed for several days amid fears a dam in the Peak District could collapse.

Hundreds of residents were moved from their homes in Whaley Bridge last Thursday after the dam wall at Toddbrook Reservoir became cracked and started to fall away following torrential rainfall.

A major operation involving a multi-agency taskforce consisting of the Environment Agency, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Canal River Trust, police, military and many others, has been ongoing in recent days to try and secure the damaged dam.

As a precaution the Hope Valley railway line was shut down, but Northern Rail has announced that this has now reopened.

Meanwhile, residents in the Horwich End area of Whaley Bridge that were evacuated from 55 homes on Saturday are now able to return to their properties.

Police said this is following the lowering of the water level in the dam to below nine metres, meaning those properties are not now in danger.

However, about 1500 other residents are still not able to return home yet, and they continue to seek refuge at a makeshift shelter set up at a Chapel-en-le-Frith High School.

A further assessment on the dam is due to take place today.

Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Swann said: “Since Friday the Toddbrook reservoir water level has been lowered well below that required for engineers to be able to access, and survey, the damage to the interior dam wall.

“As I have repeatedly stated over the past days, as soon as it safe for residents to return then we will make this happen.