Railway to close for two weeks for urgent repairs

A FURTHER landslip on the railway between Battle and Robertsbridge means the line will be closing for urgent repair work – starting after tomorrow morning’s rush-hour.

The line will remain closed for at least two weeks. During that time, trains from London will terminate at Robertsbridge, with a connecting bus service to Battle and a shuttle train between Battle and Hastings.

The line is currently open with a severe speed restriction and there will be a limited peak time service to Hastings on Monday evening and Tuesday morning. The last direct train to Hastings will leave London Cannon Street at 19.04 this evening and the last direct train to London will leave Hastings at 07.27 tomorrow.

Network Rail’s route managing director, Fiona Taylor, said: “Safety is our top priority and we cannot safely carry out such extensive repair work with trains still running and with more bad weather on the way.

“This has been a very difficult time for everyone using this stretch of railway and we appreciate passengers’ patience while we do the work that is needed. With two serious embankment failures on one stretch of line, this is the best, quickest and safest way of fixing the problems. We apologise for the further disruption this will cause.

“As soon as we have a more detailed idea of how long the work will take, we will let passengers know so they can plan ahead.”

There are two embankment slips, one at Marley Farm and the other near to Whatlington Viaduct near Battle. Both require major repairs, with piling to be installed to shore up the earthworks and new material delivered to replace that lost in the slips.

Alison Nolan, customer relations manager for Southeastern said: “We’ve made arrangements for Southeastern tickets to be accepted on Southern services between Hastings and Ashford for the duration of the closure. Passengers can then board high speed services to London St Pancras International as an alternative to get into London for no extra cost.

“Buses will be in place between Battle and Robertsbridge, and car parking tickets will be also be accepted at any of our station car parks between Robertsbridge and Frant for those who would prefer to drive to any of these stations for connecting services.

“We’re sorry for the continuing disruption to services, it’s been a challenging time across the network with all the wet weather. We’re doing everything we can to keep people moving and we’d like to thank people for their patience.”