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Rail passengers on some routes in the Sheffield and Chesterfield areas will face some changes to their journeys from tomorrow (Tuesday 18 February).
One of the two tracks through Unstone, near Chesterfield, needs to close for safety reasons following a hill slide slip above the railway which has resulted in the track becoming unstable in the recent extremely wet weather. Engineers have been carefully managing and monitoring the situation with trains running through the area at reduced speed since the New Year, however East Midlands Trains has now been advised by Network Rail that one of the lines will need to be closed for between four to six weeks whilst essential and extensive repair work is carried out.
During the repair works, East Midlands Trains will continue to run an hourly service between Sheffield and London which will depart at 09 minutes past the hour. As this service will follow a diversionary route, journey times will be extended by up to 20 minutes. All other services between Sheffield and London will start and terminate at Derby, ensuring two trains an hour can continue to run in each direction between Derby and London St Pancras. Services at other main line stations will not be affected. Trains will be strengthened with additional carriages during peak times.
An amended service will run on the Liverpool to Norwich line. This means a separate service will be running between Liverpool to Nottingham and then between Nottingham and Norwich. Services between Liverpool and Nottingham will also call additionally at Langley Mill in place of Northern Rail’s Nottingham to Leeds service (in both directions). Northern passengers from Alfreton will be able to use their tickets to travel on East Midlands Trains’ services on this route. Passengers are advised to check the website for further information about Liverpool to Norwich services.
There will be no trains running through Dronfield however a rail replacement bus will be in place.
Phil Verster, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, explained: “We have done everything possible to maintain a normal service through Unstone but the continuing poor weather and movement of the bank means we will need to close one of the tracks. This decision has been taken to protect the safety of everyone who uses and works on the railway. We thank passengers and our freight customers for their patience as we deal with this situation.
“From the start of service on Tuesday 18 February we will need to alter train services in order to divert around this area while our expert teams stabilise the hillside. The line will fully reopen as quickly as it is safe to do so. At the moment we anticipate the work could take between four and six weeks. We will confirm the re-opening date as soon as possible”.
East Midlands Trains Customer Services and Commercial Director, Neil Micklethwaite said, “We’re very sorry for the disruption this will cause to our passengers whilst this essential repair work takes place. We’re doing all we can to make our customers aware of the amended services as early as possible.
“To keep our passengers moving we will have additional bus replacement services and extra staff in place at both Sheffield and Derby stations during the first few days to ensure that they are aware of the alternative services available. We will also be flexible on ticket acceptance on Tuesday and Wednesday so that anyone who has purchased tickets in advance can be accommodated in the best way possible. All customers who have already booked a ticket on www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk on the affected route will be contacted directly.
“We’re sorry for the inconvenience this will cause and want to thank customers for their patience during this time.
"We would advise passengers to allow extra time for their journeys and to check for the latest service updates before travelling. More details can be found at www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk, where our amended timetable can be downloaded or on Twitter at @EMTrains.
Northern Rail, CrossCountry services and freight trains will also be affected by the closure.
Passengers are advised to check with East Midlands Trains before they travel www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk or on Twitter at @EMTrains. Or with National Rail Enquiries- www.nationalrail.co.uk.