The railway between Maidstone East and Ashford International reopened to passengers on Monday after a 9-day line closure to allow £10m of major improvement work to take place.
Near Bearsted, Network Rail and contractors BAM have completed repairs and reinforcements to the steep sides. The cutting was, on multiple occasions, prone to rock falls and landslips, the importance of the work was highlighted as a rock fall occurred during the project.
The work included drilling nails deep into the rock and soil on both sides of the line, grout was then pumped around them to secure them.
Netting is to be placed over the top to help hold looser material in place and aid in stopping any rock and soil from being washed onto the railway line during heavy rain.
Engineers installed 1100 rock bolts and 500 nails into the cutting and drilled a total of 6800 metres of bolt holes.
At the time of the work, Network Rail used the closure time of the line to carry out some essential maintenance at stations along the line and improved the electrical supply to trains along the route by laying new cables.
Network Rail’s route director for Kent, Fiona Taylor, said: “This was a massive job for us and for our neighbours and passengers and we really appreciate their patience. The section of line between Maidstone East and Bearsted was a big worry, with two rock falls in recent years and another one last week. The work we’ve done over the past nine days has helped make it much safer.
“We don’t get to close railways very often, so we took advantage of the time to do lots of other work, from laying new cables to painting bridges, railings and roofs, and even jet washing platforms.
“We’ve got a bit more to do in the coming weeks, so our neighbours will still see us around, but passengers will be pleased to hear that trains are running again”.
Southeastern Train Services Director, Scott Brightwell, said: “I want to say a big thank you to all our passengers for bearing with us while this essential repair work was carried out.
“Reducing the risk of landslips across our network is an important part of providing a reliable service. We also took the opportunity to make some station improvements while the line was closed and I hope our customers are pleased with what they see.”
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