Engineers have now been able to inspecte the track, which damaged last week when torrents of water cascaded from the Union Canal above.
So extensive was the flood damage that initial assessments are indicating that it could take two months to reinstate the line, said Network Rail. Engineers will continue to investigate the extent of the damage before confirming a final estimate for restoring service. Bus replacements and alternative routes are in place.
The force of thousands of gallons of water flowing from the breached canal bank has completely washed away sections of track and undermined embankments. The power of the flooding water also undermined and washed away overhead electrification masts and damaged others and left dozens of uprooted trees strewn across the tracks.
The canal water has also contaminated more than a kilometre of track and ballast, which will need to be replaced.
A 30-metre section of the canal at Muiravonside was breached following unprecedented rainfall on Wednesday 12th August. Water cascaded down the slope, flooding the railway between Polmont and Bo’ness on the main Edinburgh – Glasgow route.
The team on site is liaising with Scottish Canals. The priority was initially to secure the canal in order to stop the flooding, which was achieved on the morning of Friday 14th August.
Inspections over the weekend revealed the scale and extent of the damage. Network Rail route delivery director Kevin McClelland said: “We are working with our asset engineers and specialist contractors to assess the scale and extent of the damage and what we will need to do to safely reinstate the railway.
“It is remarkable to see the destructive power of the flowing water and the extent of the flooding and the scale of the damage is something I have never witnessed before on the railway. We are grateful to our colleagues at Scottish Canals for their prompt response in dealing with this unprecedented incident.
“We are working as quickly as possible to complete these repairs and to get passengers back onto the railway.”