This is when the Hastings to Tunbridge Wells rail line will be closed for 7 days

The train line between Hastings and Tunbridge Wells is to be closed for a week.

Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 3:28 pm
A Southeastern train winds its way through Church Settle, where Network Rail will be working this October. Picture from Network Rail SUS-210709-152305001

Network Rail, which is responsible for track maintenance, said the route needs to be closed so a section of track known to be prone to landslips can be strengthened.

Buses will replace trains between Tunbridge Wells and Battle and between Battle and Hastings during the seven-day closure.

The line will be shut from Saturday, October 23 to Friday, October 29 inclusive during the October school half-term break.

Network Rail said the works will centre on the Victorian-built Wadhurst Tunnel, which the firm said has seen its steep-sided entrances increasingly affected by heavy rain fall and subsidence in recent years.

The project will see soil nails driven into the cutting face at both ends of the tunnel to hold them fast.

Soil nailing is a construction method used to treat unstable natural soil slopes or to allow the safe over-steepening of new or existing soil slopes.

Bob Coulson, Network Rail infrastructure director for Kent route, said: “The steep cutting at Wadhurst was dug more than 170 years ago and has suffered from a number of landslips in recent years, causing significant disruption to passengers on this key route between the coast and central London.

“These stabilisation works are vital for us and Southeastern to provide more reliable train services and by doing this work in one block, we will avoid having to close the line countless weekends in future.

“We’re rebuilding our railway for the future and it’s clear that closing the railway on weekends – when it’s now at its busiest – is not the right way forward.

“We’ll also be tackling other vulnerable sites on the line over the seven days the route is closed, to make the best use we can of the opportunity.”

Scott Brightwell, train services director at Southeastern, said: “This essential work will help reduce the number of delays in the long term and therefore improve passenger journeys.

“We’d ask that our passengers wishing to travel on these dates allow considerably more time for their journeys which will involve accessible rail replacement buses and coaches.

“We’re working to ensure people have as many alternative options as possible during the closures.”

Using the opportunity of the line closure engineers will also be working on a number of other sites along the route, including at Strawberry Hill, Church Settle, Telham Road cutting, and Nevill Golf Club embankment.

Network Rail said it will also be carrying out other maintenance work at stations when they are closed during the blockade.