Southeastern’s £1.5m compensation bill

TRAIN operator Southeastern has paid out a record £1.5million to passengers affected by landslips on the Hastings to London line earlier this year.

The company said it was a record compensation figure for the network and compared to just £150,000 paid out to passengers for the same three month period in 2013.

There were three serious embankment slips on the Hastings to London line this year - one near the Marley Lane level crossing in Battle on January 30, on the Whatlington Viaduct on February 3 and near Stonegate on February 9.

Replacement bus services were drafted in, but some passengers criticised the services tor failing to stick to a timetable and failing to link up with train services further down the line.

Network Rail engineers worked around-the-clock and the company had hoped to fully reopen the route in early March, only for the slip at Whatlington to move again.

Much to the relief of passengers, the line between Battle and Robertsbridge finally reopened on March 31.

A spokesperson for Southeastern said: “We’ve paid out compensation to the tune of £1.5million in the first three months of this year to recompense customers for the disruption caused by the series of landslips on the Hastings line.

“This figure compares to a total of £150,000 in the same period of 2013.

“These payments represent record levels for the network and include claims made under the delay repay scheme, plus additional cash compensation arrangements that we put in place for the worst-affected passengers.”

Disgruntled passengers using the line from Battle, Robertsbridge, Etchingham and Crowhurst stations were among those quizzing transport bosses at the Tunbridge Wells and District Rail and Traveller’s Association’s annual general meeting on Tuesday night.

Southeastern’s public affairs manager Mike Gibson revealed the compensation figure at the meeting, which was held at the Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells.