THE Fairlie railway line will not reopening until late March, Network Rail confirmed this week.

It comes after Largs Community Resilience team called for more clarity as to when the route would be back in service after the landslide earlier this month.

A new road has had to be built and trees removed for heavy machinery to reach the site in a bid to carry out repairs.

ScotRail services were restored from Glasgow to West Kilbride from Monday as engineers make progress on clearing the landslip-damaged Largs line.

It had been closed between Ardrossan South Beach and West Kilbride too because of a second landslide.

Engineers have been working around-the-clock to remove debris and fix damaged embankments – including repairing a 10m-long landslip below the line near Ardrossan and clearing over 300 tonnes of debris from the track close to West Kilbride.

Work will continue at Fairlie over the coming weeks after the chaos outside the railway boundary which brought more than 4,000 tonnes of material onto the track, affecting a 100m stretch of line.

Engineers are currently working to clear the debris from the line and stabilise the slope above the railway.

Overhead power and track repairs will also be required at Fairlie before the line to Largs can fully reopen. Work at this location will take until late March to complete say rail bosses.

To keep passengers moving while the works take place, ScotRail is running a replacement bus service between Ardrossan South Beach and Largs.

Liam Sumpter, Network Rail Scotland route director, said: “The severe weather we experienced on February 5 has caused significant damage to the railway.

“Significant work is still needed before we can reopen the line to Largs.

“At Fairlie, our engineers are tackling a huge landslip with 4,000 tonnes of debris having fallen onto the track from a hillside above.

“We are working as quickly as we can to restore services for all our customers and thank them, and our lineside neighbours, for their understanding during these recovery works.”

David Simpson, ScotRail operations director, said: “We are doing everything we can to keep our customers moving, with replacement buses helping those making essential journeys while these vital repairs are carried out.

“Our colleagues in Network Rail are working hard to allow services to return to normal, and we are working closely with them to ensure the line is reopened as quickly as possible.”

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