Hatfield Colliery engineers are expected to soon begin removing the spoil from a landslip site after indications that the slide has finally halted.
Using aerial drones and monitoring equipment, the team observed that the slide may finally have reached equilibrium, with no recent major movement reported.
The colliery will be responsible for removing an estimated 1.5M.t of material from the area and restoring the sub-formation of the railway, and are reviewing deposition sites at the moment. Once the remediation is completed, the site will be handed over to Network Rail so it can replace the 400m of track affected.
Current work has been progressing slowly, because although Network Rail has a permit from the colliery to enter the exclusion zone around the slip, it cannot bring in any machinery yet.
Rail passengers will also be dismayed to learn that no temporary line will be put in place to ease disruption: “The physical constraints of the site would make a temporary diversion far more costly than normal,” said a Network Rail engineer. This is in part due to a landfill site that is tight to the track opposite the slip.
With Network Rail having to wait for the site to be cleared before beginning work in earnest, engineers are finding it hard to put a timescale on the recovery: “Until we get a million tonnes or so shifted, we can give no definite answer. Our best estimate at the moment is 16 to 18 weeks.”