Network Rail has pledged to work around the clock to repair flood damage on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line, but warned passengers that it could take two months to reinstate the line.
The infrastructure operator said that last Wednesday (12 August), following ‘unprecedented rainfall’, a 30-metre section of the Union canal at Muiravonside was breached. This caused water to flood the railway between Polmont and Bo’ness on the main Edinburgh–Glasgow route via Falkirk High.
With the flood water subsiding, engineers have been able to fully inspect the 300m section of damaged track.
‘So extensive was the flood damage, initial assessments are indicating that it could take two months to reinstate the line though engineers will continue to investigate the extent of the damage before confirming a final estimate for restoring service,’ Network Rail said.
It said the force of thousands of gallons of water completely washed away sections of track and undermined embankments and undermined and washed away overhead electrification masts and damaged others and left dozens of uprooted trees strewn across the tracks.
The canal water has also contaminated more than a kilometre of track and ballast, which will need to be replaced.
Kevin McClelland, Network Rail route delivery director, said: ‘We are working with our asset engineers and specialist contractors to assess the scale and extent of the damage and what we will need to do to safely reinstate the railway.
‘It is remarkable to see the destructive power of the flowing water and the extent of the flooding and the scale of the damage is something
I have never witnessed before on the railway. ‘We are grateful to our colleagues at Scottish Canals for their prompt response in dealing with this unprecedented incident and are working as quickly as possible to complete these repairs and to get passengers back onto the railway.’