Latest Rail News

19.03.18

Work begins to tackle drainage of one of country’s longest rail tunnels 

Network Rail has confirmed a major programme of work to upgrade the Sevenoaks tunnel and the railway running through it.

Leaks and poor drainage have been a major issue for the Victorian tunnel since its construction, and as a result, water build-up has damaged the track, signalling and power supply, all of which can cause delays for passengers.

The tunnel is one of the longest railway tunnels in the country, and lies on the busy South Eastern Main Line, between Sevenoaks and Tonbridge.

The work, which will be carried out over the course of 13 weekends, including the Easter and late May bank holidays, is part of a £300m government-funded programme to tackle “delay hotspots.”

It is hoped that this project will improve railway reliability and will benefit Southeastern passengers across large parts of Kent, as well as Thameslink passengers travelling between Sevenoaks and Bedford via central London.

During the works to the tunnel, Southeastern services between London Charing Cross and Hastings will divert via East Croydon and Redhill, with replacement buses operating between Tonbridge and Sevenoaks.

Steve Kilby, Network Rail programme manager, explained: “When the tunnel was built in the 1860s, the engineers weren’t aware of just how much water they would encounter underground. 

“It’s been an ongoing struggle to keep services running reliably through the tunnel since.

“Thankfully, we now have the funding to sort the drainage once and for all and replace the track, signalling and power supply – meaning better, more reliable journeys for passengers.”

Ellies Burrows, Southeastern’s train services director added: “Once completed, these essential maintenance and improvement works will provide our passengers with more reliable journeys across our network.”

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