NETWORK Rail says the 100-tonne landslip which closed the line at Purton last week further demonstrates the importance of its £25 million resilience project. 

Engineers worked for four days to repair the damage following the landslip on Wednesday, January 4, which was caused by a prolonged bout of heavy rain. 

The line between Lydney and Gloucester was closed during that time, with replacement buses deployed for passenger services. 

It came after the same stretch of the line was closed from July to September last year to allow the company to carry out the first phase of its multi-million-pound Severn Estuary Resilience Programme.

The landslip occurred on part of the embankment that Network Rail had not yet added extra protection to, but plan to as it is high risk.

Pictures showed the edge of erosion-controlling mesh just to the left of the landslip. 

Network Rail said rope access teams worked “around the clock” to descale the 100ft cliff face by hand and remove the large amount of soil and rock from the tracks.

The “extreme” rain had also caused a culvert to collapse, and washed away four-tonnes of ballast beneath the tracks.

Engineers worked to repair both in the days that followed, and concrete ‘legato blocks’ were also installed at the bottom of the slopes to prevent further debris from reaching the track. 

The company says the “mammoth” task of installing 27,000 square metres of  rock-mesh-system along a three-mile section of the line, including at the location of the most recent landslip, is an ongoing project which will continue this summer. 

It says the works will ensure the “vital” railway link is protected from the effects of climate change “for generations to come”.

Christopher Howchin, senior network delivery manager for Network Rail Wales & Borders, said: “I’d like to thank the team for their efforts to recover the line as quickly and safely as possible, especially during the latest period of industrial action, when our resources were limited.  

“Landslips at this location are only going to become more frequent due to the increasing bad weather brought on by climate change, which is why we are investing millions of pounds to protect our railway from the impact.

"Our work on this line will reduce delays and disruption for passengers and our freight customers, ensuring this vital transport route can continue to serve communities for many years to come.”