A section of railway in Ayrshire is set to be closed for weeks – after a large sinkhole appeared in the side of the track.
Network Rail bosses have confirmed investigative work is underway following the alarming discovery of the gap between Kilmarnock and Barassie on Saturday.
Engineers are working hard to repair the damage with Coal Authority experts recruited to see if they can identify potential mining works in the area.
However, rail passengers using the route are facing disruption as Network Rail expects the line to be closed for “several weeks” until the issue is resolved.
An exclusion zone has been put in place around the site while engineers confirm the cause of the hole, as well as its size and depth.
The surveys will then allow Network Rail to plan a program of repairs, as well as giving a clearer indication of when the line can reopen.
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Rail services between Kilmarnock and Barassie will remain suspended with a replacement bus service operating.
Trains between Ayr and Girvan/Stranraer; and between Glasgow Central and Kilmarnock, will continue to operate as planned.
Network Rail project manager Tom Podger said: ‘Holes like this are very unusual on the railway and we are working with the Coal Authority to identify the cause, as well as finding a solution to make the safe railway so that trains can pass again.
“We understand the inconvenience this incident will cause some passengers, and I would like to thank these customers for their patience and understanding as the work continues.”
Passengers can visit https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ or https://www.scotrail.co.uk/ for updates as they travel.
It is the latest setback for passengers in Ayrshire after timetables were torn up and services cut following a pay dispute between ScotRail and the ASLEF union. The Scottish government has only recently taken the railways back into public ownership.
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