Roads return to normal after bridge chaos

The scene after the landslide at Wigan North Western yesterday

The scene after the landslide at Wigan North Western yesterday

Wigan was plunged into chaos after a disused subway wall collapsed outside Wigan North Western station.

One lane of Queen Street has now reopened after a clean up operation was completed but the affected area remains fenced off while Network Rail repair the wall.

Bricks, soil and sheets of corrugated metal came crashing down yesterday morning onto several cars parked below the wall which made up part of the disused subway which runs underneath the railway and above the road.

The subway was blocked off and filled in several decades ago.

Road closures caused long delays for motorists for most of the day and Queen Street remained closed until this morning while Network Rail engineers carried out a structural assessment and began to clear the debris.

The incident also caused disruption on the rail lines as all services were stopped from passing through the station until around 10am. All services had returned to normal by 1.30pm.

The wall was part of a disused subway that had been filled in decades ago

The wall was part of a disused subway that had been filled in decades ago

Pedestrians access under the bridge was allowed from late morning yesterday.

Network Rail confirmed the safety assessment was completed at around 3pm and work had began to clear the rubble. Work would then begin to rebuild the wall.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “Part of a disused subway which runs underneath the railway and above the road - which has been long been blocked off and filled in – has collapsed.

“We are clearing the area and making it safe while we plan for the long-term repairs to the damaged wall.

Without warning the structure has collapsed into the street outside and therefore initially a full closure of the station was put on for passengers and the public around

BTP sergeant Gavin Daw

“These will be carried out as soon as possible. We apologise for any disruption caused in the surrounding area.”

One Wigan resident had a lucky escape after their car managing to avoid being damaged, despite being parked near to the wall.

Rachel McGrory said: “My car was parked literally metres from where it happened, I was so lucky that my car wasn’t damaged. There was debris literally inches from it.”

Officers from both Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and British Transport Police (BTP) remained at the scene until for most of the day along with representatives from Network Rail.

BTP sergeant Gavin Daw said: “A part of an exterior wall at Wigan North Western station has collapsed. It is an old wall that used to be part of a staircase and a platform that are no longer used.

“Without warning the structure has collapsed into the street outside and therefore initially a full closure of the station was put on for passengers and the public around. We’ve put a road closure on to make sure no one is at risk of any injury passing the station.

“The lines were initially closed for safety but were reopened at low speed and trains have been rerouted round the other side of the track.

“We wanted to minimise disruption to passengers as best we could because we wanted to make sure people were getting on with their journeys in a safe manner but obviously we have a responsibility to the safety of the public.

“Unfortunately a couple of cars got covered in bricks and rubble but there were no casualties.”

A GMP spokesman said: “Shortly before 8.40am officers were called to Wallgate to reports of a collapsed archway. A section of wall had collapsed onto parked cars nearby.”

Lucky, no injuries were reported but the train cancellations and delays caused significant travel problems across the North West affecting many West Coast Mainline Services.

Services to Liverpool, Manchester, London, Glasgow and Edinburgh were affected.

Related article: Commuter chaos as station evacuated