A stretch of the picturesque Settle to Carlisle rail line will be closed for several months after a major landslip made it unsafe.
An estimated 500,000 tonnes of earth moved leaving an embankment at Eden Brows dangerous for trains.
Network Rail closed the section between Appleby and Carlisle this week after aerial surveys and ground monitoring showed up a 130m X 70m area of land was affected.
Martin Frobisher, Network Rail’s route managing director, said: “An estimated 500,000 tonnes of earth have moved already and the embankment is still moving. That’s 10 times the weight of the QE2 ocean liner when it is fully loaded. The extent of this landslip means it is no longer safe for this section of railway to be open to trains.
“Our monitoring has detected a twist fault in the tracks caused by the ground movement. The slip is accelerating.
“This is a vital rail link across the north of England and I am very aware of how important the railway is to the local community and local economy.”