Railway services disrupted by 'mysterious void' sinkhole

A sinkhole has been discovered next to train tracks on the Cumbrian coast.

The hole is around 4ft deep and 2ft wide, and was found in the village of Harrington.

Network Rail, which manages Britain's railway infrastructure, said the "mysterious void" appeared on Thursday in the wake of Storm Eleanor.

The ground around the hole appears to be "shifting" and services between Whitehaven and Workington are being disrupted.

Phil James, head of operations for Network Rail's London North Western route, said: "Sinkholes are very unusual on the railway.

"We are trying to work out whether this one been caused by a collapsed culvert or sea erosion or both.

"Either way, we've got a big hole right by the tracks that we need to fill in.

"We're having to run trains on one rather than two lines along this stretch while we make our repairs.

"We aim to have things back to normal by Sunday.

"In theory, running the railway is simple.

"But in practice, when you throw storms, wind, waves and sinkholes into the mix, it gets more complicated."

Network Rail has recorded 50 sinkholes on the railway in the past 12 years.

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