Closed railway line to reopen ‘the last week of February’

THE Hastings to London line, which was closed between Battle and Robertsbridge following a serious landslip, is not expected to re-open until the last week of February.

The section of line was closed on February 4 for urgent repair work at two landslip sites, at Whatlington Viaduct and Marley Farm.

Over the weekend, engineers started to build an access road to the remote section of railway at Whatlington Viaduct in order to begin the work.

Network Rail says its engineers will be working 24 hours a day to get the railway re-opened by the end of the month.

Route managing director Fiona Taylor said: “We have got a massive job on our hands to rebuild the line at Whatlington, with at least 10,000 tonnes of stone needed to rebuild the embankment, all of which will be delivered to site by engineering trains.

“Safety is our priority and, for that reason, we cannot run trains at the same time as we do the work. We realise this has caused more disruption to passengers, for which I am very sorry.

“However, this work has to be done, and it has to be done safely. The weather this winter has been incredibly challenging and we appreciate passengers’ ongoing patience during this difficult period.”

Once the access road has been completed at Whatlington, machinery can be brought to the site, including two massive piling rigs.

These will embed a 300 metre-long sheet steel wall in the ground and provide a stable base on which the new embankment will be built.

The slip near Marley Farm is smaller in scope, but will still require a 60m length of steel piles to be installed and 3,000 tonnes of stone delivered.

Buses are replacing trains between Battle and Robertsbridge, with a shuttle train service to Hastings from Battle and onwards from Robertsbridge to London.