Rail workers battle snowdrifts on Buxton and Hope Valley lines to get services running again

Railway workers have been out in force across north Derbyshire today, clearing deep snow which has closed two rail routes in the Peak District.
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Network Rail extreme weather action teams are working hard to keep passengers and freight moving on the majority of the railway network, however strong winds have caused snow drifts to build up on exposed parts of the Buxton and Hope Valley lines.

Accumulations of up to eight inches above the railway lines fell overnight on both routes which means no trains have been running between Hazel Grove and Buxton or between Manchester and Sheffield via the Hope Valley.

Other routes in the Peak District have been running, including the Glossop line, and it is estimated that all routes will be operational again to some degree sometime 3pm and 6pm.

A Network Rail worker in snow up to eight inches above the railhead at Grindleford.A Network Rail worker in snow up to eight inches above the railhead at Grindleford.
A Network Rail worker in snow up to eight inches above the railhead at Grindleford.

Ross Davies, Network Rail’s North West route head of control, said: “As expected substantial snowfall hit the Pennines overnight and our teams are out fighting against the elements to get trains moving on our higher routes through the Peak District.

“I’d like to thank passengers for their patience while we make the Hope Valley and Buxton lines safe for trains to run and ask people to keep checking National Rail Enquiries for the latest travel information so they aren’t caught out in the cold.”

Snow can make some train lines physically impassable, but there are other safety concerns which accompany cold weather, so require additional precautions.

Low temperatures and moisture can cause points and mechanical signals to freeze, ice can form on overhead power lines and interrupt the electricity supply, and falling snow and sleet can reduce drivers' visibility of signs and signals, meaning trains have to travel more slowly.

Grindleford signal box with tracks obscured by snowGrindleford signal box with tracks obscured by snow
Grindleford signal box with tracks obscured by snow

Chris Jackson, regional director for train operator Northern, added: “Customers should check before they travel and allow more time for their journey if they intend on using services today.

“I’d also ask that people be mindful that our teams across the region are doing their best in difficult circumstances to help get people where they want to be. Your patience and co-operation is appreciated.”

For all the latest travel information, passengers should check www.nationalrail.co.uk before they set off on their journeys.

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