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Cumbria Flood

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The following relates to the severe floods in Cumbria which occurred in 2009.

Update:  Friday 27 November 2009

Overnight, a small number of telephone lines failed in the Northside, Workington area.  BT expect to repair them later today. North Pennines RAYNET Group are manning Maryport Police Station and Northside Community Centre from 08:00 - 12:00 hrs.  Merseyside RAYNET will then man from 12:00 - 18:00 hrs.  If necessary, Cumbria EPU will provide their own communications after that.   The following is older information.

The English county of Cumbria has been badly affected by floods, due to record amounts of rainfall and rivers flooding into farmland, roads and towns.  Cumbria Emergency Planning Unit (EPU) has established two rest centres.  Many people have been evacuated from their homes.  They can't return to their homes and business premises until flood damage has been fixed.  That could take weeks, months or years.

The areas affected include, but are not limited to, Cockermouth, Workington and Keswick in West Cumbria.

Mains electricity and the 999 emergency telephone service failed in some areas.

Some towns now have poor road access due to river bridges being destroyed or unable to be used as they are unsafe.  In Cockermouth, a 2 minute journey across a bridge to the other side now involves a 28 mile detour taking about 70 minutes.

The flooding incident is over and is in the recovery stage.

Calva Bridge in Workington is unsafe and can't be used.  It carries telecommunications cables.  The bridge will have to be removed as it is likely to fall down.

The police believe that the bridge is going to collapse and chop the cables.  For the local area north of River Derwent, that will cut off about 3,000 telephones, private speech circuits, private data circuits, radio networks which use BT circuits and the internet.  Overnight, Calva Bridge went lower by a few inches.

The army will build a footbridge upstream of Calva Bridge.  Initially, BT planned to lay a cable over that new bridge and reroute the telephone lines.  Instead, BT will bore a hole under the river, then lay a new cable in it.  That may take a week.

If the bridge collapses before the cable work is complete, RAYNET will be called out to pass messages between 2 police stations and 4  council locations.  Cell phones should still work, but may be congested.  The public have been told that if they require the emergency services, they can go to one of the designated 4 locations and a radio operator will summon them.  RAYNET manning will be continuous for possibly 9 to 14 days.

Cumbria County Council offers advice to residents for when telephone services are cut at

Local Radio BBC Cumbria can be heard live at 

RAYNET have selected possible relay sites in the area and carried out radio link tests on 26 November.

RAYNET groups currently on standby are:  North Pennines, Richmond and Cleveland.  Many other RAYNET groups are on some lower level of alert in case the emergency services require us to provide extra communications.

You can send an e-mail message to Cleveland RAYNET Group by clicking here.   This will fail if you use web-based e-mail.
Page updated on 09 January 2017

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