Residents stunned by support wall collapse

Bridie and Tom Farry, whose garden is underneath the rubble
Bridie and Tom Farry, whose garden is underneath the rubble

A NIGHT collapse of a railway retaining wall shocked residents and closed the track for half a day while engineers inspected the damage.

The wall, which runs parallel to a number of streets in the centre of Cornholme, collapsed at Victoria Street late in the evening of Monday, October 22.

In the morning shocked residents saw the wall had slid into the street, taking with it a residents’ garden.

Rail services using the Burnley line - linking Preston and Leeds - were disrupted, a bus link being patched in between Hebden Bridge and Blackburn to allow passengers to complete their journeys.

Network Rail engineers attended the site to inspect the damage and assess it for safety and by 1pm they decided the situation was not a risk and the rail line could re-open.

Resident Mrs Bridie Farry said she was relieved that, if it had to happen, the landslip happened in the middle of the night.

“Thirty plus years we’ve been gardening it. If I had been up there when it happened I could have been killed,” she said.

“We’re shocked really, it’s horrible. I’m relieved we are OK.”

Residents say Network Rail have been monitoring the banking for some while and metal pins had been inserted into the wall at several points to check for movements, engineers checking periodically. But they were concerned about the situation. Given the wet summer, the banking is holding a lot of moisture.

Arthur Eardley, who lives on neighbouring Garfield Street, said on Tuesday: “I heard a noise about 10.30pm last night and I thought somebody was messing with cars on Victoria Street where I park.

“I popped my head out and because it was dark I couldn’t see anything. I got a delivery this morning and saw the damage.

“The railway people have been checking it for movement. They wanted to fill it with concrete last year, but we stopped them because it was a total waste of time. But this wall had needed repairing for a while. There’s a wall on Garfield Street and we’re worried about that as well. If that collapses it will go through someone’s living room.”

A spokesman for rail service provider Northern Rail said they had put a bus link in place between Hebden Bridge and Blackburn while services were out of action and services were subject to some delay once they resumed.

A spokesman for Network Rail said engineers had examined the landslip closely to ensure it was safe to re-open the line - checking if there had been any movement or if resumed use of the line would destabilise it.

They would next decide what course repair work should take, he said.