No end in sight to train saga as landslip moves

THERE will be no trains between Battle and Robertsbridge stations until further notice as engineers continue to work to rebuild the damaged railway embankment at Whatlington.

Network Rail had hoped that services could be restored along the full length of the Hastings to London line last week, after the section of track closed following a landslip at the Whatlington Viaduct on February 3.

But further movement of the landslip undermined the repair work that had been completed and means that additional strengthening work is now needed before trains can run safely.

Network Rail has bolstered its team with additional independent engineering expertise to investigate the cause of the continued ground movement, which is affecting the substantial repairs put in place and preventing the line from reopening.

The bad news for passengers is that Network Rail says it cannot predict when the line will be ready to reopen.

Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s route managing director for Kent, said: “This has been a very difficult time for everyone using this stretch of railway and we appreciate passengers’ patience while we do the work that is needed.

“Despite extensive surveying and expert work we were disappointed that the ground around the landslip moved again.

“This area is still not safe and we have to undertake more detailed in depth ground investigations to determine why this happened.

“We are putting everything into determining these causes and what works we have to do to make this stretch of line and the embankment safe for trains to run on.

“We know that passengers will be frustrated by this but we want to assure them that their safety is our upmost concern and we are doing everything we can to get to the bottom of this serious problem and put in place a safe and resilient embankment for the Hastings line.

“I’d like to extend my thanks once again to Southeastern and their passengers for continuing to bear with us while we complete what has become a real engineering challenge.”

The landslip at Whatlington is one of three significant landslips to have disrupted services on the Hastings line recently, with repairs already completed at sites in Stonegate and Battle.

Rail replacement bus services will continue between Battle and Robertsbridge stations until further notice.