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It's the mighty hole that stopped trains
8:40am Saturday 29th September 2012 in Ledbury
A DEEP hole which appeared under the tracks of the Colwall railway station stopped train services for two days.
Appearing on Monday morning after a month’s worth of rainfall fell in just a day, it opened up just a few paces from where a similar hole had appeared at the end of June.
The more recent hole has now been repaired, but a speed limit has been put in place while the repair is monitored.
On Monday morning, London Midland was forced to suspend all its services while the hole was inspected, with trains having to terminate at Great Malvern rather than carry on through to Hereford.
The hole at Colwall, just one station along from Ledbury, was inspected by Network Rail engineers who dug out the ballast and traced the cause to a collapsed 250mm clay pipe.
In breaking, the pipe had been discharging water into the immediate area and washing away the ballast under the track causing a hole to form.
The hole had originally measured about half a metre but grew to five metres as engineers dug 2.5m to 3m down to locate the problem.
Repairs were made using concrete sleepers with drainage laid on top and the ballast and track had to be reinstated.
Train services restarted on Wednesday (26) morning with the first service, the 4.29am Hereford to Ledbury, arriving three minutes early at Ledbury.
Full services are expected to operate – though a 20mph speed restriction has been placed on the line, which normally operates at 70mph, while the repairs are monitored.
A hole had previously appeared on the track in June but National Rail spokesman John Baker said they were confident they had now resolved the problem, permanently.