Services between Oxford and Kingham have resumed this morning after Network Rail repaired a wall collapse and landslip at Yarnton.

A side wall of the rail bridge at Yarnton collapsed on to the rail line serving Oxford to Worcester 12 days ago.

The GWR Paddington evening service came to a stop after it hit rubble on February 10.

Its 362 passengers were asked to leave their carriages and walk along the tracks to another train.

This stretch of railway reopened in time for the first train service of the day – the 05.10 Oxford to Moreton-In-Marsh – to pass through.

A 20mph speed restriction will remain in place and a watchman will be on site until Network Rail complete the second phase of longer-term repairs to reinforce the structure and ground.

This phase of work is due to begin at the end of next week and is expected to take a couple of weeks.

It will be carried out overnight when no services are running to avoid disrupting passengers.

The road over the rail bridge at Yarnton will remain closed until at least the middle of next week with plans to reopen to a single lane controlled by traffic lights.

After the collapse Network Rail put in place protective barriers to protect the rail line, however, there were further landslips in the embankment and the railway was closed.

The landslide had also exposed a gas main which presented an added complexity to repairs.

Network Rail worked with specialist civil engineering contractors Balfour Beatty to design metal sheet piling to act as a retaining wall to support the embankment and road.

Engineers began installing the metal sheet piles, as well as 22 soil nails, on Friday evening and and into this start of this week to complete the work.

Nicky Hughes from Network Rail said: “We would like to thank passengers for their patience and understanding while we have made these vital repairs at Yarnton.

“Our team of engineers has worked tirelessly alongside our specialist civil engineering contractors Balfour Beatty, to design and install a solution that has enabled us to quickly and safely reopen the line to passenger services tomorrow morning as planned.

“The road over rail bridge at Yarnton is 170 years old – from the Victorian era – and one of over 2,000 similar aged bridges we have across our Western route.

"We take the structural integrity of these bridges very seriously and regularly monitor their condition and conduct detailed examinations every six years.

"Over the coming weeks our team of engineers will return to this site to begin the second phase of longer-term repairs which will further reinforce the structure and ground around the railway.”



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