Anglo-Scottish West Coast line closed for one month

4 Jan 2016 by Alex McWhirter

The main West Coast rail line to Scotland is not expected to reopen until the end of January at the earliest.

It has been closed since before the New Year owing to flooding and it was originally expected to re-open this week.

But Network Rail now says Storm Frank caused damage to the Lamington viaduct (near Lockerbie) between Carlisle and Glasgow, and repairs are necessary. 

At the time of writing these are not expected to be complete until January 31 (with services not retstarting until after midnight on February 1 at the earliest) but, knowing that events can change, this date could be changed depending on the severity of the damage.

It means that Anglo-Scottish rail travel to Glasgow will be time-consuming and difficult throughout this month. This will effect all rail travellers, in other words those travelling to or from London and the Southeast, the Midlands and the North of England.

Certainly it’s hard to envisage business travellers taking the replacement shuttle buses/trains (the trains adopt a slower, roundabout routing via south west Scotland) between Carlisle and Glasgow. 

It is possible to take Virgin East Coast from London Kings Cross using the East Coast route via Edinburgh but this also adds to the journey time and trains will be busier than usual.

All Anglo-Scottish Caledonian Sleeper trains will operate. But they will run via the East Coast (rather than the usual West Coast) route - for more details click here.

But passengers using the sleepers between London, Inverness and vice versa face further problems in that flooding has damaged the line between Inverness and Perth. Delays over this stretch of line are expected until January 11 – see link above.

Those at the winning end will be the airlines. A glance at or shows that many travellers are reverting to “the high road.” Fortunately the lack of snow and ice so far this month has benefited the airlines.

On January 5, for example, British Airways still had a number of cheaper seats available out of London Gatwick to Glasgow but from Heathrow the majority of seats were being sold at one-way fares of between £150 and almost £300. 

Virgin Trains has posted details of the disruption and alternative routings on its website.,

Report by Alex McWhirter

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