Council fast-tracks rail rebuild process

An emergency train station has been built in less than a week after Allerdale Borough Council waived planning procedures to help residents affected by flooding.

Network Rail approached the council with proposals for a temporary station to reconnect the two halves of Workington, which were cut off by last week's extensive flooding. Bridges crossing the River Derwent had collapsed or been condemned due to damage.

Once a suitable site was identified, the council agreed a two-year lease of land and gave the go-ahead immediately. "There was no time for the normal planning procedures," explained interim planning manager Jill Elliott.

"The council owns land adjacent to the railway line that it made available. It was imperative to get a temporary station in place quickly.

The station is of a short-term nature and in the event that it is retained for a longer period of time then a planning application will be submitted," she added.

The station includes waiting rooms, lighting and a gravel car park. The two platforms are constructed with scaffolding. Train operator Northern Rail agreed to make alterations to its timetable and services from the station are scheduled to start this week.

A National Rail spokesman praised Allerdale's pragmatic approach to the project. "The council's offices are based in Workington so it knows how badly people are affected. Everyone is mucking in and getting on with it. We will sort out the legal stuff at a later date," he said.

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