Massive water leak floods train tracks

Train services are severely disrupted in parts of northern England following a major water leak on the tracks.

Handout photo issued by Network Rail of flooded railway tracks at Audenshaw in east Manchester.

Network Rail said it was forced to close the line in Audenshaw, east Manchester, at around 2am on Thursday due to a burst water main.

Trains are prevented from running in either direction between Manchester Piccadilly, Rose Hill and Hadfield, as well as Stalybridge and Leeds via Guide Bridge.

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This is affecting TransPennine Express services as far away as Hull.

Operator Northern is running rail replacement buses on some disrupted routes.

United Utilities is responsible for the water main.

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Network Rail’s North West infrastructure director Chris Pye said: “We’re sorry to passengers impacted by this burst water main and we’re assisting United Utilities as they work hard to get to the bottom of the fault and get it fixed so trains can run again.

“I’d please ask people planning on travelling on the Glossop Line and between Manchester and Leeds via Stalybridge today to check National Rail Enquiries before they set off on their journey as this is causing severe disruption.”

Phil Sweeney, head of central operations for United Utilities, said: “Our teams are working closely with Network Rail to resolve the issue as quickly and as safely as possible whilst maintaining water supplies to customers in the area.

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“We’d like to apologise to passengers for the inconvenience caused by the burst.”

There is growing concern over water leaks due to a drought being declared for parts of England, although not the North West.

United Utilities, which provides water to more than three million customers, recorded leakage per property per day of 130 litres in 2020/2021.

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A company spokesman told the PA news agency last month it was “not considering any restrictions on use” of water but did encourage customers to use water wisely.

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