Network Rail has announced that work has begun to reopen the railway between East Grinstead and Lingfield by 30 March 2020 after a landslip blocked the line.
There have been two landslips between Dormans and East Grinstead.
The first landslip happened on 28 December, but trains were able to continue running, with a speed restriction. Engineers began working on a plan to fix the line, but Storms Ciara and Dennis damaged the embankment even more, and the line had to be closed.
Works to repair the slip involve building an 800-metre-long road just to reach the site. Steel beams will be driven into the ground to build a wall to repair the embankment, and engineers will be using cranes and road-rail vehicles.
Almost 25,000 tonnes of new material needs to be brought in to replace the soil lost in the slips and will be delivered to site on 25 trains.
Once the railway is open to trains, more work will be done to shore up the section in between the two landslips when it is less disruptive to passengers.
Two trains per hour are running between Lingfield and London Victoria, and during peak times, three 12-car Thameslink trains between Oxted and London Bridge are running. Rail replacement bus services are also in place between Hurst Green and East Grinstead.
Have you been affected by the East Grinstead landslip? Let us know in the comments below.
What did the officials say?
Shaun King, route director for Sussex, said:
“I really appreciate how passengers are having their journeys affected by this landslip. I want to assure them we are challenging each other and reviewing our plans constantly to see if we can get this railway open at the earliest opportunity before 30 March.
“I really appreciate everyone’s patience while we do this work.”
Southern Customer Services Director, Chris Fowler said:
“We understand the difficulties our passengers are facing due to this landslip and we’re doing our very best to keep people moving during the closure.
“We have additional car parking at Lingfield and Gatwick Airport, rail replacement bus services from East Grinstead to Three Bridges and Lingfield, and our tickets are being accepted on many local buses and other train services.
“For full details, please visit our website www.southernrailway.com.”
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