Railway finally set to reopen ‘next week’

Network Rail track works at Whatlington SUS-140327-085518001
Network Rail track works at Whatlington SUS-140327-085518001

AFTER weeks of round-the-clock work, Network Rail engineers are on track to reopen the full length of the Hastings to Tonbridge railway line to passengers early next week.

The line has been closed between Battle and Robertsbridge stations for a number of weeks, following a series of landslips.

The line was due to reopen earlier this month, but the date was pushed back after the land at Whatlington was found to be slipping again.

Network Rail will not specify a date for the reopening and passengers are being encouraged to check before they travel.

Network Rail’s route managing director for Kent, Fiona Taylor, said: “This has been a really difficult time for passengers on the line and I have been continually impressed by their patience and understanding.

“We have had a serious engineering challenge to meet at Whatlington and the other landslips and it has taken a huge effort from everyone to get to this position.

“We are confident the line will reopen next week and I would encourage passengers to check before they travel.

“As soon as it has been proved safe to run trains, we will get things going and we and Southeastern will let you know.”

Test trains will run over the repaired slip at Whatlington before the line is opened.

Buses have replaced trains between Battle and Robertsbridge since January 30.

There have been three serious embankment slips on the 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 station on February 9.