Commuter chaos as station evacuated

The scene of the collapsed subway this morning

The scene of the collapsed subway this morning

Work has begun to clear up the area after the wall of a disused subway collapsed at Wigan North Western station.

Network Rail have confirmed that the safety assessment has been completed and work has begun to clean up the rubble which fell from the wall earlier this morning.

Queen Street will remain closed for the foreseeable future and drivers are reminded to avoid the area. Traffic remains heavy on all routes into the town centre.

A diversion is in place from the Saddle Junction on to the A49 Warrington Road and into the town centre on the B5238 Poolstock Lane.

Buses into the town centre are still experiencing delays but all train services from Wigan North Western have returned to normal.

A Wigan Council spokesman said: “The road closure along Queen Street will remain in place until further notice.

“The safety cordon has though been reduced to allow pedestrians to walk under the railway bridge on Wallgate but delays remain for buses which have been diverted. Motorists are advised to continue to follow the diversions and closures.”

As well as the Queen Street closure, vehicles are being stopped from turning right from Caroline Street onto Wallgate.

Passengers were asked to vacate the station this morning after part of the subway crashed down onto parked cars.

A pile of bricks could be seen underneath a railway arch and a train was stranded on the platform while Network Rail engineers assessed the situation.

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.

Network Rail spokesman

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

Structural engineers have been at the scene for most of the day assessing the safety of the affected area.

A police 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.”

Damage near the arches at the rear of Wigan North Western

Damage near the arches at the rear of Wigan North Western

No-one was reported to be injured but the incident caused travel problems across the North West.

The delays affected the Northern route between Liverpool Lime Street and Wigan North Western/Preston; TransPennine Express between Manchester Airport and Glasgow Central/Edinburgh; and Virgin trains between London Euston/Birmingham New Street and Glasgow Central/Edinburgh.

Passengers outside Wigan North Western station. Pic: Jonathan Broadbery

Passengers outside Wigan North Western station. Pic: Jonathan Broadbery

Police block off access to roads around the station

Police block off access to roads around the station