Express & Star

Temporary train shuttle service set to start after landslip - but only on one side of blockage

A shuttle train service is set to start between Shropshire and Wolverhampton after last week's landslip - but only on one part of the route.


Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276

West Midlands Railway (WMR) said it hoped a limited service could run between Birmingham Wolverhampton and Shifnal from Monday, March 18.

The full route between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton has been closed since Friday after the landslip at Oakengates, between Wellington and Telford Central, with rail replacement buses running instead.

Network Rail, which maintains the tracks, estimates the railway will be closed until at least Monday, March 25 while the embankment is rebuilt.

Speaking about a potential shuttle service, a WMR spokesperson said: "When the timetable is significantly disrupted, as has happened in this incident, a brand new timetable must be created in order for trains to be able to run safely.

"Unfortunately, as there is no crossover available from one line to the other at Telford Central, we cannot run trains into the station as we are not able to safely bring them back out again."

Work to clear away the fallen material continues

However, there are no plans for a service between Shrewsbury and Wellington.

A spokesperson for Transport for Wales said it wasn't possible for "a number of operational reasons".

They said trains could not turn around at Wellington station, meaning Shrewsbury to Wellington would not be feasible.

"Trains go in one direction on one set of tracks and in the opposite direction on a different set of tracks so they need the ability to turn around (swap tracks) which is not possible at Wellington," they explained.

They also said they could not run any shuttles from Telford Central to Wolverhampton because "train crew are required for the rest of their booked work and also due to access with West Midlands Trains terminating at Wolverhampton".

Trains won't run between Telford and Shrewsbury until the end of March

The schedules for the train crew were also an issue for WMR.

They added: "Railway timetables are intricately designed to co-ordinate the precise movements of trains, drivers and senior conductors on a minute-by-minute basis throughout the day.

"Timetables must make allowances for train crew to take safety-critical rest breaks at suitable locations and for trains to return to depots for cleaning and refuelling.

"As one of our main traincrew depots serving the Shrewsbury Line is in Shrewsbury and our train depot is in Birmingham on the other side of the landslip, the incident has caused a significant challenge for us to continue running trains."