£1.5m compensation bill

TRAIN operator Southeastern has paid out a record £1.5 million 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 route 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 buses were drafted in, but some passengers criticised them for failing to stick to a timetable and 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. The line between Battle and Robertsbridge finally reopened on March 31. Passengers from 1066 Country were among those quizzing transport bosses at Tunbridge Wells and District Rail and Traveller’s Association’s meeting on Tuesday where Southeastern’s public affairs manager Mike Gibson revealed the compensation figure.