Network Rail has announced that it will close the railway between Kidbrooke and Barnehurst during the February half term next year.
The reason for this closure is to carry out major work that will protect passengers from the disruption caused by landslips.
After four landslips in the past decade, most recently in February 2019, Network Rail is investing £6.6 million to provide a safe solution on this section of the line.
The work involves removing 2,500 tonnes of mud and trees so engineers can reduce the steepness of the cutting slopes.
Engineers will also bring in another 8,000 tonnes of material, such as gravel and concrete, to build retaining walls.
To make the most of the closure, Network Rail and Southeastern will also bring forward other infrastructure improvements in the area.
Keeping passengers moving during the closures
The Woolwich and Sidcup lines and the Charlton to Blackheath link will remain open. Capacity on alternative routes will be increased by running additional or longer trains. Rail replacement bus services will be available.
What did the officials say?
Dan Athol, programme director for Network Rail, said:
“The risk of another landslip on the line is very high and we need to take action as soon as possible.
“We know it’s never a good time to close the railway, but a longer 9-day blockade during the half term when it’s typically quieter means we can minimise disruption to passengers. The alternative would be many weekend closures over a two-year period, which is not only slow and inefficient but prolongs the risk of landslips and unplanned disruption to passengers.
“We’re working closely with Southeastern to make people aware of the impact on their journeys and the alternative options available and will use the time the railway is closed to bring forward other important work.”
Ellie Burrows, Train Services Director for Southeastern said:
“Above all, our passengers on the Bexleyheath line through Barnehurst want a safe and reliable service, and this vital work being undertaken by Network Rail will protect this stretch of track for the future.
“It’s never ideal to have to close the railway, but working with Network Rail we have a clear plan for diverting trains on to different routes as well as putting in place replacement bus services to ensure that our passengers can get to where they need to.”