The Hastings railway line has reopened after a series of landslips but there are still delays. Tom Savvides has reaction from passengers, Southeastern, MP Amber Rudd and Network Rail.
After almost two months of round-the-clock work, Network Rail engineers will reopen the Hastings to Tonbridge railway line to passengers tomorrow morning.
Three serious landslips in late March and early February caused considerable disruption to passengers’ journeys.
Network Rail had hoped to fully re-open the route in early March, but the Whatlington slip moved again, despite considerable work having taken place to fix it.
Buses have replaced trains between Battle and Robertsbridge since January 30.
Test trains were run over the repaired section of line for the first time on Sunday (March 30), before the start of passenger service this morning.
Network Rail has thanked passengers for their patience.
A vital train line in Hampshire reopened this morning after it collapsed during the biggest landslip in Britain in the floods. 80 metres of embankment fell away at Botley in torrential rain at the start of last month.
It has caused weeks of disruption for passengers travelling between London, Eastleigh, Fareham and Portsmouth.
Video. It was the biggest landslip in Britain during the floods, closing a rail line and causing chaos for commuters. But it is hoped a vital train line will re-open tomorrow, bringing some relief to passengers next week.
Around 80 metres of the embankment collapsed in torrential rain in Hampshire at the start of last month. It has meant a main line between London and Portsmouth has been closed.
Trains were diverted, and replacement buses brought in, with effects on key commuting towns like Basingstoke and Farnborough. It could be three months before everything is back to normal for fear of more landslips. But for now, at least, trains may start running again.
Our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse reports.
Network Rail engineers are on target to complete work to rebuild three collapsed sections of railway in Sussex by Monday.
Landslips at Stonegate, Whatlington and Battle have meant a month of disruption for passengers on the line from Hastings to Tonbridge.
After four weeks of round-the-clock working, Network Rail has repaired the slips to the extent that trains will be able to run along the whole length of the route from the start of service on Monday morning.
Network Rail’s route managing director, Fiona Taylor, said: “This has been a very difficult time for passengers. We have now restored the track across the most serious of the landslips, at Stonegate, after delivering more than 10,000 tons of stone to repair the damage.
By Monday Southeastern will be able to get their trains running again across all three repaired slips. There will need to be more work on the route in the coming months, although very much less disruptive, as we get to grips with the remaining damage at other locations.”
Engineers are dealing with forty landslips on, or near, rail tracks in the south east. Normally there are just three across Kent and East Sussex each year. Tom Savvides talks to Fiona Taylor and Derek Butcher from Network Rail.
Almost 5 miles of the south west coast path between Axmouth and near to the Devon/Dorset border at Lyme Regis has been shut this afternoon due to damage to the path caused by an active landslip. Notices have been placed on site, and the path will be closed until further notice.
Rain is forecast to continue today with some heavy bursts and up to 10mm possible in localised areas, which could cause localised flooding on the local road network. Conditions could be further complicated overnight on Sunday with road surface temperatures set to plunge below freezing.
– Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council
“Anyone planning a walk along the coast path this weekend should check the weather forecast before setting out. The amount of rain we’re having can affect the stability of some cliffs, as we have seen with the closure at Axmouth, so please stay back from cliff edges, and let someone know where you are going and what time you are likely to be back.