Rail line works

Nine-day closure of Penge Tunnel between Brixton and Beckenham Junction for upgrade works

Starting this Saturday, Network Rail engineers will begin renovation works to the railway in Penge Tunnel, between Brixton and Beckenham Junction. Engineers will be working hard to replace almost two and half miles of track inside the huge 1.25-mile-long tunnel in South London, leading to a 9-day closure period culminating on Sunday 31 July.

Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s Kent route director, said:

 “We’d like to thank passengers and residents living alongside the railway for their patience while we carry out this major track replacement at Penge tunnel.

“This will be a challenging task as the tunnel is over a mile long, but the benefits will mean less maintenance will be needed in future as the track and components will be newer, meaning fewer faults and smoother, more reliable journeys for passengers.

“We recognise this work can be disruptive to passengers and those living alongside the railway and that’s why we’ve tried to fit in other maintenance tasks within the nine-day railway closure so that it causes less disruption and is more cost effective.

“By taking a full nine days, we will significantly reduce overall disruption to passengers, as the alternative to this approach would be five weekends of closure in addition to two separate Sundays.”

The works to be conducted will involve the removal of old track, digging up the track bed and then the replacement of rail ballasts through the use of a special track laying machine. This will allow the continued safe and smooth operational running of the railway, maintaining reliability for the passenger services.

The track replacement will cost £5m and comes as part of the 1.25 billion South East Upgrade programme that is attempting to provide Kent and South East London residents with better and more reliable journeys through improving the railway infrastructure.

A project of this size will naturally result in inevitable disruptions to passenger travel and residents’ daily lives, so to minimise the effect of these disruptions the line will be closed for nine days to complete everything in one contained period. Though this is a lengthy period of closure for those who utilise the rail services, it equates to half the time it would take if the work were conducted over multiple weekends. The length of closure is also beneficial as it will allow other essential maintenance work to be conducted on the line at the same time, creating a more efficient and cost-effective project.

Scott Brightwell, operations and safety director for Southeastern said:

“We don’t want people to get caught out, so our advice to our passengers during this work is to check before you travel, and to plan ahead by using the Southeastern website or National Rail Enquiries. There’s never a good time for work like this to be carried out but the work is crucial, and it will mean better journeys in the future."

The track work will affect Southeastern services from Saturday 23 July until Sunday 31 July.

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