Original article from Kent Live
The rail line between Tunbridge Wells and Hastings will close for a week over the October half term to tackle areas prone to landslips.
Network Rail engineers are preparing to improve and strengthen the resilience of a section of track between the two towns known for landslips this half term, meaning no trains will be able to run between Tunbridge Wells and Hastings stations between October 23 and 29.
The works will centre on the Victorian-built Wadhurst Tunnel, which has seen its steep-sided entrances increasingly affected by heavy rain fall and subsidence in recent years.
The project will see soil nails driven into the cutting face at both ends of the tunnel to hold them fast.
By doing the work over a concentrated period of seven consecutive days, the overall disruption to passengers can be significantly reduced, while fast-tracking the delivery of the reliability and safety benefits of the project.
Bob Coulson, Network Rail infrastructure director for Kent route, said: “The steep cutting at Wadhurst was dug more than 170 years ago and has suffered from a number of landslips in recent years, causing significant disruption to passengers on this key route between the coast and central London.
“These stabilisation works are vital for us and Southeastern to provide more reliable train services and by doing this work in one block, we will avoid having to close the line countless weekends in future.
“We’re rebuilding our railway for the future and it’s clear that closing the railway on weekends – when it’s now at its busiest – is not the right way forward.
“We’ll also be tackling other vulnerable sites on the line over the seven days the route is closed, to make the best use we can of the opportunity.”
Scott Brightwell, train services director at Southeastern, said: “This essential work will help reduce the number of delays in the long term and therefore improve passenger journeys.
“We’d ask that our passengers wishing to travel on these dates allow considerably more time for their journeys which will involve accessible rail replacement buses and coaches.
“We’re working to ensure people have as many alternative options as possible during the closures”
Using the opportunity of the line closure engineers will also be working on a number of other sites along the route, including at Strawberry Hill, Churchsettle, Telham Road cutting, and Nevill Golf Club embankment.
Network Rail will also be carrying out other maintenance work at stations when they are closed during the blockade.
In the past decade alone, engineers have visited Wadhurst tunnel on numerous occasions to secure the railway and install temporary fixes to weather-related movements.
Passengers are being advised to check their train services between Tunbridge Wells and Hastings with bus replacement services being provided for those who wish to travel.