Huge landslip on Manchester to Bournemouth train route sparks travel chaos

Commuters hoping to travel from Manchester to Bournemouth could face disruptions until at least Saturday after 350,000 tonnes of material fell on the line.

A huge landslip occurred between Leamington Spa and Banbury on Saturday January 31, and workers are expecting it to take over a week to clear.

The area, which is currently being examined, is a known problem area and further ground movement has not been ruled out.

A statement on National Rail said: “A landslip has occurred between Leamington Spa and Banbury. It is unsafe for trains to run between these stations.

“There is the potential for further ground movement and because of this, the railway line and surrounding area is at risk of greater damage.

“An early estimate is that the line will be closed until at least Saturday February 7, but this disruption has the possibility of extending beyond this time.”

An elevated level of ground water in the area means that engineers will have to see if the movement continues before they can make a detailed assessment.

The service that runs from Manchester Piccadilly to Bournemouth has now been split into two with journeys only going from Manchester to Leamington Spa, and Banbury to Bournemouth.

The disruption has also caused disruptions on Cross Country routes to Reading, Newcastle and Guildford and Chiltern Railways services between Birmingham Snow Hill, Birmingham Moor Street, Stratford upon Avon, and London Marylebone.

A revised service is in effect between Banbury and Marylebone, Birmingham and Leamington Spa, and Stratford upon Avon and Leamington Spa.

A replacement bus service between Leamington Spa and Banbury is in operation, but is due to increase travel times by up to one hour.

Other services such as Chiltern Railways, First Great Western, Southern Railways, and Virgin trains are still in operation but it is advised to check the National Rail website for any route modifications before you travel.

Passengers with advance tickets are being told they may travel on earlier trains and Cross Country customers can use these alternative routes:

  • Chiltern Railways between Birmingham Snow Hill and Leamington Spa
  • East Coast between London Kings Cross and Newcastle / Leeds
  • First Great Western on any reasonable route
  • First TransPennine Express between Sheffield and Doncaster 
  • Grand Central between London Kings Cross and York
  • London Underground on any reasonable route
  • Northern Rail between Sheffield and Doncaster
  • South West Trains services London Waterloo and Bournemouth via Southampton Central
  • Virgin Trains between London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly / Wolverhampton

Chiltern Railways passengers may use the following services:

  • CrossCountry
  • First Great Western
  • London Midland
  • London Underground
  • Virgin Trains

For further information and updates please click here.

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