Many weeks to fix moving spoil heap

Twisted rail tracks after a land slip from Hatfield Collery, Stainforth. Picture: Chris Lawton
Twisted rail tracks after a land slip from Hatfield Collery, Stainforth. Picture: Chris Lawton

this dramatic shot shows just how much a Doncaster pit tip moved before it destroyed a nearby railway track.

It is unlikely the Doncaster to Thorne line at Stainforth will be re-opened before the end of April because of the extent of this week’s landslip.

The latest information from Network Rail is that the landslide is still moving and the site remains dangerous.

Rail engineers have not been permitted to start work on site as a safety precaution.

“An initial estimate, dependant on a fuller investigation, is that the line will be shut for approximately eight weeks from the point of when the land stops moving,” said a spokesman.

Hargreaves Coal Services, who run Hatfield Colliery, are still waiting for independent engineers to establish why the heap has moved sideways and onto the railway.

The aerial survey clearly showed a number of deep fissures on the spoil heap which will have to be stabilised before track repairs can get underway.

Train services between Doncaster and Scunthorpe and Goole have been replaced by buses, which leave Doncaster station at 45 minutes past the hour, and add up to 60 minutes to the journey.

The track problems appeared at the weekend and became much more severe early on Tuesday.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “Our engineers are working with the colliery to plan the safe repair of the track bed and railway once the spoil heap has been stabilised.

“At this stage it is not possible to say when direct rail services will resume. We will publish a timescale for the work as soon as possible and apologise to passengers for the inconvenience caused.”

A spokesman for the colliery said it was likely the firm’s public liability insurance would cover the costs of the repairs and stabilisation.

Normal work on the spoil heap, which is not known to have had any previous movement, has been suspended until tests are completed.