Buses to replace trains between Gillingham and Sittingbourne for at least a week after landslip

Network Rail experts discovered a crack 40 metres long. Credit: Network Rail

Buses will replace trains between Gillingham and Sittingbourne for at least a week after a landslip.

It happened next to the railway at Newington on Friday afternoon (23 February) following heavy rainfall.

A limited bus service will replace Southeastern trains between Sittingbourne, Newington, Rainham and Gillingham until the 4th March - while repair work is carried out.

An amended train service will operate between London Victoria and Gillingham, via Denmark Hill; London St Pancras and Rochester; Sittingbourne and Dover Priory, and Sittingbourne and Ramsgate.

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Bob Coulson, Network Rail’s Kent route infrastructure director said: "I’m really sorry for the disruption customers are experiencing following a landslip at Newington. The safety of our customers and colleagues is always our number one priority and we’ve unfortunately had to close the railway through this area to allow our engineers to go in and complete emergency repairs.

"We’re acutely aware of how critical this route is for rail passengers, and we’ll be working tirelessly over this coming week to repair and stabilise the embankment as quickly as possible so we can reintroduce services.

"We’re working closely with our colleagues at Southeastern to develop a plan so customers are still able to get to where they need to go.

"I’d like to thank customers and local residents for their patience and understanding while we complete this work."

Emergency work to repair a landslip at Newington is underway. Credit: Network Rail

Southeastern’s operations and safety director, Scott Brightwell, said: "We are very sorry for the disruption to our services between Sittingbourne and Gillingham, and the impact it is having on our customers. Every effort has been made to open the line, but it will take more time to do the necessary safety repairs.

"If you do need to travel and have no alternative options then we are running a limited bus service between Sittingbourne and Gillingham while the line is closed. Please allow additional time for your journey and we expect queuing arrangements to be in place at busy times.

"There will also be changes to our usual timetable on other routes with some services cancelled and others expected to be extremely busy. Full details are on the Southeastern website and online journey planners will be updated, please check before you travel.

"If anyone is delayed by an additional 15 minutes on their journey, they can also claim Delay Repay compensation on our website."

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