Wadhurst London aerial half completion, via Network Rail

Reliability works set to close Tunbridge Wells to Hastings line during upcoming half term

The historical Tunbridge Wells to Hastings line will see closure in the upcoming October half term, from Saturday 22nd until Sunday 30th October, as engineering works will get underway to improve the reliability and resiliency along the route.

These works supplement the previous year’s as they come as a continuation of an ongoing improvement programme conducted by Network Rail. The line itself dates back from the early 1850’s and has suffered consistent reliability issues in recent years caused by recent landslips that took place on the line in Christmas 2020, and February 2014

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

 “The closure of the railway for nine days is good news for passengers on the route. We’re finally able to deliver sustained investment in this railway’s civil engineering, really for the first time since it was built. When the engineers of the 1850s cut the tracks through the hills, they cut deeply and cheaply, leaving a legacy of unstable earthworks that have a history of collapse.

"We took a week last year to shore them up around Wadhurst and other locations, and we’re going to be back doing more of the same work this time round, and again in April 2023.

“I’m really grateful for the understanding passengers have shown while we’ve been working on this route and I would ask them to check before they travel during the October half-term week, as rail replacement buses will be in use on the whole length of the route.”

To combat the issues relating to landslips, major earthwork improvements were conducted that saw the installation of earth movement sensors along the vulnerable locations along the route. These will be worked on throughout the October scheduling to ensure secured reliability.

Concurrent to these earthworks’ improvements, the engineers will also be installing new track inside Wadhurst Tunnel, along with further works in Mountfield Tunnel, near Robertsbridge, to repair concrete slab tracks. Along with these repairs, an investigation will be taking place that will allow the engineers to plan for other works at a later date.

Scott Brightwell, Southeastern’s Operations and Safety Director, said:

 “We know that closing the railway for a short period isn’t ideal, but we’ll make sure that all of our customers know exactly how to complete their journey between Hastings and Tunbridge Wells while Network Rail carries out this vital work. Our message to our customers is to check their journey on the Southeastern website or app, and after the work’s finished they’ll return to a more reliable railway. "

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