Transport minister visits site of Harbury landslip

Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, and Patrick McLoughlin MP, Transport Secretary
Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, and Patrick McLoughlin MP, Transport Secretary

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP has visited the Harbury landslip to see the work being carried out to reopen the railway line between Banbury and Leamington.

The line has been shut since January 31 after 350,000 tonnes of earth and rock slipped down the embankment close to the entrance of the Harbury tunnel. Rail users have been forced to use replacement buses between Leamington and Banbury or travel to London via Coventry while Network Rail attempt to fix the problem.

Mr McLoughlin said: “I regret rail passengers are still being inconvenienced by this serious landslip, but Network Rail’s main priority is to re-open the line as quickly as possible and when it is safe to do so.

“I have seen how hard Network Rail engineers are working to resolve this situation, and train operators have told me they are doing everything possible to give passengers up-to-date information and to keep them moving. My officials are closely monitoring the situation and will offer whatever support is required.”

Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said: “Our priority is to reopen the line between Leamington and Banbury as quickly as possible. Progress has been made and we have removed more than 30,000 tonnes of earth from the site. However with the landslip being made up of around 350,000 tonnes, there is still much to do.

“Passengers can be assured that we are using all available resources, and working around the clock, to reopen this railway safely. I thank passengers for their patience and apologise for the inconvenience caused.”

Every day, around 150 passenger trains from Chiltern Railways and CrossCountry use the line which runs from Birmingham to London Marylebone station.

Network Rail cancelled its planned closures of the West Coast main line this month for improvement works to ensure passengers can continue to travel between Birmingham and London while the landslip is resolved.

Passengers should check with their train operator or visit for the latest travel information.