Engineers from Network Rail have officially completed a £2.28m project that sought to prevent landslips in the Fareham area, a project that saw the line closed for 9 days to allow the works to be conducted.
The 9-day construction period began on Friday 24th June and saw the South Western Railway (SWR) services on the line from Eastleigh to Fareham being replaced with bus services until the railway reopened on July 3rd.
The structural maintenance works saw engineers tackling the steepness of a railway cutting near Fareham Tunnel, which incorporates the line into the surrounding hillside. To minimise the risk of landslips, the sides of the slopes were made shallower, reducing the chances of extreme weather having a detrimental effect on the line.
Works within the 9-day closure period also saw hundreds of engineer’s complete necessary maintenance renovations to improve reliability along the line. This included the likes of track repairs, work on switches and crossings, signalling and drainage. Collectively, this equated to 7,500 hours’ worth of work throughout the duration of the project.
The resilience improvements required the use of 20 construction vehicles and 10 trains to haul over 5,000 tonnes of excavated earth from the steepest side of the cutting, before the construction of an 80-metre-long retaining wall.
Network Rail’s Wessex route director, Mark Killick, said:
“We appreciate that closing the railway for a week was disruptive, especially on the back of the recent rail strikes, but this job was absolutely vital to keeping the line open and safe in future.
"The most recent landslip on the line, at Botley in 2014, closed the route for six weeks. By doing this work in 9 days, we’re not only reducing the risk of landslips but we’re getting the job done in a far less disruptive way than closing the line repeatedly at weekends.
“To make the most of the access to the railway, we also completed more than 30 extra jobs, from routine inspections to important track maintenance, ensuring we handed back a more reliable line. I'd like to thank our customers and our railway neighbours for their patience while we completed this major work.”
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