Passengers are being asked to check before travelling this August, as major work takes place between Maidstone East and Ashford International.
The work will take place from Saturday 7th until Sunday 15th August (inclusive) and will see engineers reinforce Bearsted cutting to prevent landslips and improve drainage and signalling equipment.
Rail replacement buses will operate along the line instead of trains during the nine-day period, as well as on 3rd, 4th, 24th and 25th July, when the line is expected to be closed.
Bearsted cutting is now over 150 years old and needs ‘soil nailing’ which will strengthen the cutting to make sure it is safe for trains running through.
Over 6,000 soil nails are being installed in the cutting. Engineers will also be working on power supply feeder cabling between Harrietsham and Charing.
Other maintenance will be completed on the drainage, track and signalling, as well as work on stations whilst they are closed.
With the rail line closed for nine days in a row, it will mean less disruption for passengers as opposed to more weekend closures.
Fiona Taylor, Network Rail Route Director for Kent, said: “Line closures are always a last resort for us because of the disruption they cause passengers, but are sometimes unavoidable. Extreme weather, as a result of climate change, is having a significant impact on our Victorian railway embankments. The works at Bearsted will make the cutting secure for a long time. We’re scheduling them to cause minimum disruption, when fewer people are using services, so that passengers will benefit from the works as soon as possible.”
Scott Brightwell, Train Services Director at Southeastern, said: “It’s vitally important that Network Rail carry out this essential work along this part of our route. Reducing the risk of landslips will really help to improve reliability for our passengers. We are working on the alternative travel arrangements and we will publish more detailed information for our customers in the coming weeks.”
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