Commuters have been warned to expect two weeks of disruption after a train derailed last week, causing travel delays across parts of Lancashire.

A “void in the ground” has been located near the site of the derailment and an investigation is under way to discover the cause.

Throughout the weekend, railway engineers have been inspecting the damage and carrying out ground investigations after a Northern train derailed in Grange-over-Sands on Friday, March 22.

Four passengers and four members of staff were safely evacuated from the train.

Network Rail is advising passengers that the route will be closed while the investigation, train recovery and repair work is complete. Initial investigations suggest this could take two weeks. 

Around 150 meters away from the derailment location, a void in the ground has opened. Network Rail is working with the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) to determine the cause of the void and the train derailment.

Once the RAIB has completed its initial investigation, Network Rail will begin the complex recovery process. The steps will involve:

  • Using a specialist Network Rail crane to re-rail and remove the train.
  • Carrying out repairs to the ground.
  • Installing new ballast (railway stones) and laying new track over the affected area.

Chris Pye, Network Rail’s North West route infrastructure director, said: “On the rare occasions trains leave tracks like this it can cause extensive damage and unfortunately this incident is no exception. The additional problem with the ground conditions means this is an especially complicated recovery process.

“I understand this will be extremely frustrating for passengers travelling between Lancaster and Barrow-in-Furness. Across the rail industry, we’re working hard to keep people on the move through rail replacement buses while we work as fast as we can to restore the railway for passengers and freight.”

The closure will not significantly affect the timetable over the Easter bank holiday due to pre-planned work in the area.

From today (Monday, March 25) train services will run between Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness on the Cumbrian coast line. Bus replacement services will be in operation between Barrow-in-Furness and Lancaster while the recovery of the train and repair work takes place at Grange-over-Sands.

A spokesperson for the RAIB said: “RAIB has sent a team to the site of the derailment of a passenger train earlier this morning near Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria.

“The team will gather evidence as part of a preliminary examination to help us decide whether or not an investigation will be launched.”

Craig Harrop, regional director for Northern, said: “While services are unable to run between Barrow-in-Furness and Lancaster, we are working with partners to offer what rail replacement alternatives we can. This includes buses between Lancaster and Barrow calling at Lancaster, Carnforth, Silverdale, Arnside Grange-over-Sands, Kents Bank, Cark, Ulverston, Dalton, Roose and Barrow-In-Furness.

“Disruption is expected to last some time, so customers should make alternative arrangements wherever possible. We're sorry for the inconvenience and delay.

“Customers can always speak to a member of our team at their local station or visit  our website for the latest information.”

For the latest updates on the incident, passengers can follow the Network Rail Lancashire and Cumbria X account (formerly Twitter) on @NetworkRailLC.

For up-to-date travel information and detail on alternative travel please check