Rail franchises operators & contracts

23.11.18

Major overhaul of one of country’s longest tunnels sees delays fall by a fifth

A major refurbishment of Sevenoaks tunnel has seen a 20% reduction in delays and halved journey times for passengers, even as the £21m infrastructure renewal nears completion.

One of the longest tunnels in southern England, Sevenoaks has been given a major overhaul which has included replacing thousands of sleepers, laying several miles of news track, and installing new drainage systems.

The main body of work has now been completed according to Network Rail, which has reduced the number of delay incidents by 20%, and journey times through the tunnel are now on average 64 seconds faster after the lifting of speed restrictions from 50mph to 90mph.

Network Rail launched the programme on the 150-year-old tunnel in 2017 after leaks and poor drainage were regularly causing delays and damaging the infrastructure of the tunnel.

Water build-up in the Victorian tunnel had been damaging the track, signalling and power supply, causing delays, but the refurbishment work is now expected to improve the reliability of the railway.

This is will benefit Southeastern passengers across large parts of Kent as well as Thameslink passengers who travel between Bedford via central London and Sevenoaks, who are regularly affected by knock-on delays and congestion.

The south east route managing director for Network Rail, John Halsall, said: “We’re pleased to have delivered this project to upgrade one of the country’s oldest and longest rail tunnels using the investment provided by government through the Thameslink Resilience Programme.

“Delays due to flooding had become a regular occurrence through the Sevenoaks Tunnel but we’ve been able reduce delays by a fifth, giving passengers well-earned relief to their journeys, and I’d like to thank them for their patience while we’ve carried out this vital work.”

The work is part of a £300m government-funded programme which aims to tackle “delay hotspots” such as the Sevenoaks tunnel, and improve the railway’s reliability for the new Thameslink timetable.

Ellie Burrows, Southeastern’s train services director, said: “We’re very pleased that this major work on the Sevenoaks Tunnel has been carried out and will improve the reliability of services for our passengers.

“I’d like to thank passengers for their patience during the 15-weekend closures of the line which have been necessary to allow this work to be carried out.”

Enjoying RTM? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

ScotRail submits £18m improvement plan in response to government improvement notice

25/03/2019ScotRail submits £18m improvement plan in response to government improvement notice

Under-fire train operator ScotRail has unveiled an £18m remedial plan to recruit more staff and bring in additional high-speed trains in re... more >
Major redevelopment plans for Edinburgh Waverley station unveiled

25/03/2019Major redevelopment plans for Edinburgh Waverley station unveiled

Network Rail has launched a consultation on a multi-million long-term redevelopment plan for Edinburgh’s Waverley Station. With annual... more >
Failings found as passengers on stranded train walk on live track in ‘potentially lethal’ incident, RAIB says

25/03/2019Failings found as passengers on stranded train walk on live track in ‘potentially lethal’ incident, RAIB says

Dozens of passengers left “increasingly uncomfortable” on a stranded train at Lewisham left their train and walked along icy tracks s... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

The West Midlands 30-year strategy

19/03/2019The West Midlands 30-year strategy

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE), outlines the West Midlands Rail Investment Strategy 2018-2047. The West Midlands Rail Executive was formed three years ago to give local authorities a direct influence over the award of the region’s main rail franchise. Working with the Department for Transpo... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

19/03/2019Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

The world-renowned Caledonian Sleeper, due to begin operations at the end of spring 2019, completed its first Scotland to London journey earlier ... more >
26-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

19/03/201926-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

After a nine-month national trial, the rail industry launched its seventh National Railcard for 26-30-year-olds on 2 January 2019. Rail Delivery ... more >
East West Rail: the next steps

19/03/2019East West Rail: the next steps

In January, five route options for the central section of East West Rail were published as part of a public consultation on the next phase of the... more >
Rail's role in transit-orientated developments

19/03/2019Rail's role in transit-orientated developments

Jonathan Bray, director at the Urban Transport Group (UTG), argues that transit-oriented developments are the future – and that rail has a ... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >