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Network Rail emergency teams battle with storms

Network Rail engineers worked flat out over the festive period to restore services hit by storms.

Hundreds of workers manned the network on 23 and 24 December to react to problems caused by high winds across the country.

More than 200 weather stations were monitored, and teams were dispatched to fix equipment and remove debris.

The winds returned between Christmas and New Year, and again on 3 January, when floods also hit coastal areas.

“This has been one of the most challenging periods we have faced in recent times,” said Network Rail managing director of network operations Robin Gisby.

“Hundreds of our staff have been working in difficult conditions on the railway over the Christmas period to repair landslips, remove trees and also keep our planned engineering works running.”

Landslips and flooding

Particular problems faced on the network over the past fortnight include landslips at Redhill and Coulsdon; flood and fire damage at West Croydon; flooding near Balcombe; and most recently flooding in Wales and Cumbria.

A severe landslip in Ockley, Sussex, will take several weeks to repair.

As well as the emergency works, Network Rail carried out £100M of improvement projects over the festive period.

Engineers from Network Rail and its suppliers worked a total in excess of 600,000 hours across more than 100 locations across Britain despite the weather conditions.

Work included laying new track at Gatwick airport station; commissioning new signaling equipment at Peterborough; electrification at ManchesterVictoria; a new rail bridge in Ipswich; and a major ugrade of Gravesend station.

“The work carried out this Christmas and New Year period is part of our plan for a bigger, better railway and means the industry can cater for the continuing growth in demand for rail travel,” said a Network Rail spokesman.

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