Engineers tackle landslide after heavy rains caused rail chaos
A TEAM has been working throughout the weekend to deal with a landslide that has caused rail delays and cancellations across the Bristol area.
The landslip, close to the Westerleigh junction in South Gloucestershire, has led to a series of delays for commuters travelling between Cheltenham and Bristol Parkway.
Caused by last week's heavy rains, it has also caused problems with services between Bristol and South Wales as well as trains travelling out of London.
Workers from Network Rail spent the weekend shifting 4,000 tons of earth to try and shore up the landslide. The damage is expected to be repaired by the end of tomorrow.
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Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin paid a personal visit to the site to see how the work was progressing.
Mr McLoughlin admitted that the work had caused extra delays to services in the area but added that the repairs had to be carried out for safety reasons.
He added: "Network Rail has been working round the clock to restore normal services as soon as possible.
"This is not planned work, it is emergency work but Network Rail is doing its utmost to get the line back up and running."
Mr McLoughlin said: "We are putting a huge amount of investment into the railways, around £9 billion was announced in July for improvements and for electrification.
"To get things working again it is important to react as quickly as possible and get services back to normal."
Over the weekend there were delays on the line between Swindon and Bristol Parkway and speed restrictions were also in place.
Contractors had to build an access road to the site across a farmer's field so that they could transport 4,000 tonnes of material to the site to rebuild the collapsed embankment.
CrossCountry services from Birmingham were being diverted via Wales and the Severn Tunnel.
First Great Western's high-speed services from London Paddington to Wales were either being cancelled or diverted through Box.
Rail operator First Great Western said customers should expect cancellations or delays throughout today and tomorrow.
A spokesman said: "Train services to and from Gloucester will start and terminate at Yate. and restart from Bristol Parkway or Bristol Temple Meads.
"Services between London Paddington and South Wales are operating at a reduced frequency and will be diverted via an alternative route between Swindon and Newport."
CrossCountry trains said some of its services between Cheltenham and Bristol Parkway may be diverted via Lydney.
A spokesman said: "Some services will not run between Birmingham New Street and Bristol Temple Meads. Buses are running from Bristol Parkway to Yate, Cam and Dursley and Gloucester."