NETWORK RAIL is warning that the main Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street line may have to remain closed until well into the autumn, as a result of flood damage.
The bank of the Union Canal was breached over a 30m stretch during the recent bad weather and water cascaded down on to the electrified railway below, near Falkirk High station.
Now that the floods on the tracks have subsided, engineers have had the opportunity to inspect the 300m section which has been damaged, and they have uncovered a catalogue of problems.
Floodwater from the canal washed away sections of track and undermined embankments. It also undermined and washed away overhead electrification masts and damaged others, as well as leaving dozens of uprooted trees strewn across the railway.
It is not yet clear how long repairs might take, although Network Rail said its engineers would be working day and night. Even so, full reinstatement could take up to two months.
Route delivery director Kevin McClelland said: ‘We are working with our asset engineers and specialist contractors to assess the scale and extent of the damage and what we will need to do to safely reinstate the railway.
‘It is remarkable to see the destructive power of the flowing water and the extent of the flooding and the scale of the damage is something I have never witnessed before on the railway. We are grateful to our colleagues at Scottish Canals for their prompt response in dealing with this unprecedented incident.
‘We are working as quickly as possible to complete these repairs and to get passengers back on to the railway.’