Below Rail Infrastructure, Engineering, Environment and Sustainability, Freight Rail

Flood-damaged Newdegate rail line repaired and reopened for freight

Grain freight movements have now resumed along the Newdegate line, after Arc Infrastructure recently completed its repair and restoration works to the rail infrastructure damaged by extensive flooding earlier this year.

The Newdegate line had been closed since the track was inundated with floodwaters in early February, when the Newdegate-Lake Biddy area received more rainfall in two weeks than in any similar period since 1955, according to Bureau of Meteorology statistics.

In some sections, stretches of track, rail structures and culverts were completely washed away, while other parts of the network in the Lakes District remained submerged in floodwaters for months.

Paul Lowney from Arc Infrastructure said that there had been delays in carrying out its planned project to not only repair the line but prevent flood damage into the future.

“While we had wanted to restore services to this final section of the network earlier, large volume of water remained in the Lakes District and further recent rains delayed the safe return of rail operations in the area,” Lowney said.

In June the company said it been investigating a number of solutions to get the Newdegate line up and running again, including draining Lake Biddy and pumping away water from the area.

The eventual project, delivered by Arc Infrastructure and project partners and recently concluded, involved lifting the existing track to allow the formation to be built-up by 1 metre, which would help reduce the impact of flooding to the line in the long term. The project area stretched over approximately 50km of freight rail line from Lake Grace to Newdegate.

“Throughout this process we worked closely with the sole customer of the line to ensure they were kept informed of progress and we thank our employees, contractors and CBH for their hard work, support and understanding during the clean-up efforts and look forward to working with them as services resume,” Lowney said.