THE Hastings to Charing Cross line finally reopened on Monday (March 31) after two months of disruption.
Commuters have had to endure journeys of up to three hours after three serious landslips in late January and early February due to horrendous weather closed part of the line.
But after weeks of round-the-clock work by Network Rail, services started running again this week, much to the relief of passengers.
Borough councillor Rob Cooke, who commutes daily to Tunbridge Wells in Kent to work at Axa PPP Healthcare insurers, said: “It’s fantastic that the line has now reopened.
“The last two months have been extremely stressful getting to and from work. Having a commute now that’s down to around an hour makes a huge difference.
“I would like to thank our MP Amber Rudd for all of her hard work in keeping up the pressure on Southeastern and Network Rail to get the line reopened.”
Network Rail had hoped to fully reopen the Hastings to Charing Cross route early last month, but the landslip at Whatlington moved again, despite considerable work having taken place to fix it.
Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s route managing director for Kent, said: “This has been a really difficult time for passengers.
“I have been continually impressed by their patience and understanding.
“We have had a serious engineering challenge to meet at Whatlington, as well as at the other landslip sites, and it has taken a huge effort from everyone to get to this position.
“I would like to thank passengers once again for bearing with us while we worked to reopen their railway.”
Charles Horton, managing director for Southeastern, which runs trains from Hastings to Charing Cross, said: “It has been a trying time for everyone on the Hastings line and we are relieved now the work is finished and we can start running normal trains again.
“We want to thank our customers for bearing with us and we are now focused on returning to normal and providing a good service to passengers.”
Buses have replaced trains between Battle and Robertsbridge since January 30.
Test trains were run over the newly repaired section of line for the first time on Sunday (March 30), before the start of passenger service on Monday morning.