THREE derailed freight wagons have been successfully recovered by railway engineers in Carlisle so major repairs can ramp up to get passengers back on the move as soon as possible.

This weekend Network Rail used an 800-tonne crane to successfully lift the vehicles over the tracks at Petteril Bridge junction.

It’s after they were involved in a derailment on Wednesday October 19 which caused significant damage to a bridge, track and line side equipment including signalling and points cabling.

Since then the railway has been closed in both directions - impacting all services on the Tyne Valley line between Carlisle and Newcastle and the Settle to Carlisle line between Carlisle, Appleby and Skipton.

The derailed wagons were loaded onto the back of lorries to be taken away by rail accident investigators.

Today, Network Rail’s works delivery team has been ramping up railway repairs now the recovery phase is complete.

Up to 50 engineers will be on site each day. They have to replace 80 metres of damaged track,install 400 metres of cabling for signals and points, and replace two switches – moving sections of track which enables trains to switch lines.

They will also secure bridge foundations eroded in the river Petteril with 100 tonnes of stone and

rebuild 41 metres of destroyed bridge parapet.

It is hoped work will be completed early in December so train services can resume on the Settle to Carlisle and Tyne Valley lines.

In the meantime, rail replacement buses will continue to be in operation to keep passengers on the move, with people being urged to plan their journeys at

Craig Jackson, Network Rail works delivery manager, said: “The weather has hugely been on our side to remove the three stranded cement wagons this weekend and this marks a turning point in our hard work to get the railway repaired and reopen for passengers.

“Now the wagons have been loaded onto lorries to be taken away by accident investigators, work can really get going to fix the track and bridge significantly damaged by the derailment. The railway must stay closed while we carry out these important repairs, so please check National Rail Enquiries as bus replacement services will still be in operation.”

Kerry Peters, regional director for Northern, said: "This is a really complex operation and we are thankful for the expertise that Network Rail are providing in recovering the freight train and reinstating the track.

"Whilst there is some work to do the potential reopening of the line in December will be very welcomed by our passengers on the route. We will do all we can to support this. We have been providing rail replacement buses where needed and I want to thank any customers who have been impacted by the derailment for their understanding and patience. We look forward to operating a full train service on the route as soon as possible."

For updates on the recovery people can follow the Network Rail Twitter account for Lancashire and Cumbria @NetworkRailLC.