Cement News

800 Tonne Crane to Lift Derailed Cement Wagons in Carlisle

Excellent progress is underway by rail engineers in the recovery of a derailed freight train in Carlisle.

The ongoing operation will see the recovery of the freight train alongside minor repairs to the railway in order to get passengers back on the move as quickly as possible.

The incident happened shortly after 8pm on Wednesday the 19th of October at Petteril Bridge Junction and saw five wagons all of which were carrying 80 tonnes of powdered cement leave the tracks as they made their journey between Clitheroe and Carlisle.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch released an initial report which found the possible fault causing the derailment may be due to a train wheel. Two of the wagons came to rest on the rail embankment however, one ended up in the river Petteril.

Network Rail released up-to-date drone footage on the 10th of November and sees an 800-tonne crane waiting to carry out the recovery of the stranded wagons. The recovery is set to take place over the weekend unless strong winds hamper the effort. Following the recovery, the wagons will be taken by rail accident investigators

The crane has been installed on unstable ground in an old railway siding and has seen a huge feat in engineering in the process which saw:

  • 300 tonnes of powdered cement extracted from the wagons
  • 3,800 tonnes of stone to build a site compound
  • 22 lorries to transport the crane sections
  • 16 foundation piles 13 metres deep for the crane pad
  • A 100-tonne crane to build the main 800-tonne crane
100-tonne service crane building 800-tonne main crane during Carlisle recovery // Credit: Network Rail

Network Rail will take over the site once the wagons are removed and carry out a full repair of the rail infrastructure at Petteril Bridge Junction and will see:

  • 40 engineers on site each day
  • The replacement of 80 metres of damaged track
  • Installation of 400 metres of cabling for signals and points
  • The replacement of two switches which move sections of the track allowing trains to swap lines
  • The securing of the bridge foundations eroded by the River Petteril with 100 tonnes of stone
  • The rebuild of 41 metres of the destroyed bridge parapet

The work aims to complete during the early part of December in order for train services to get back on track for the Tyne Valley and Settle to Carlisle lines.

Rail replacement buses will remain in operation whilst the project is underway and passengers are advised to plan their travel ahead via: www.nationalrail.co.uk.

Aerial shot of the damaged bridge
Aerial shot of the damaged bridge // Credit: Network Rai

Mark Evans, Network Rail senior programme manager, said: “I’d like to thank rail passengers and local people for their continued patience while we’ve been working hard to recover the stricken freight train in Carlisle. A great deal of preparation work has gone into the complex lifting of the wagons, with the main crane now towering above the city ready to lift – so long as the autumn weather doesn’t get in the way.

“Once this is done our Network Rail teams are poised and ready to crack on fixing the railway so we can get the line reopened for passengers as soon as possible. With the route expected to stay closed until the start of next month our advice is to still please check National Rail Enquiries as journeys will take longer and will involve replacement buses.”

Kerry Peters, regional director for Northern, said: “This is a really complex operation and we are thankful for the expertise that Network Rail are providing in recovering the freight train and reinstating the track.

“Whilst there is some work to do the potential reopening of the line in December will be very welcomed by our passengers on the route. We will do all we can to support this. We have been providing rail replacement buses where needed and I want to thank any customers who have been impacted by the derailment for their understanding and patience. We look forward to operating a full train service on the route as soon as possible.”

Locals who live close to the incident site are being asked to keep a safe distance away as the wagons are removed.

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