Landslip repairs

Services resume following emergency landslip repairs

The railway between Redhill and Tonbridge reopened for the start of service on Monday morning, following the successful completion of emergency landslip repairs at Bough Beech, near Edenbridge in Kent.

Over the last two weeks, engineers from Network Rail have installed 91 sheet piles – eight-metre long sheets of metal – and strengthened a 100-metre section of railway embankment with soil nails, after heavy rain caused the embankment to become saturated and weakened.

Further strengthening work will continue once trains have resumed running, but it is not expected to impact on the timetable.

Mark Killick, Network Rail Southern region director of engineering and asset management, said: “Our colleagues have worked tirelessly around the clock with our contractors over the past two weeks to repair this landslip, on what’s been quite a complex site for a number of reasons.

“I want to thank our passengers, freight customers and lineside neighbours for their patience while we’ve carried out this work, which has essentially been a giant underpinning operation.

“As each steel pile was installed we gained more and more confidence that we would be able to reopen the railway – and the work we’ve done here at Bough Beech will leave this line in a much more better and more reliable condition for the future.”

14 named storms in the last year have challenged the railway’s ability to deal with climate change. Kent experienced its wettest February since 1836, while England experienced its fourth-wettest February since records began.

There have been more than 200 problems with Network Rail’s embankments and cuttings in the last three years, 25 of these resulting in line closures.

Network Rail will spend £2.8 billion between now and 2029 on measures to cope with extreme weather, including the construction and reconstruction of 600,000 metres of drains.

Network Rail is also using remote condition monitoring at key sites to help monitor ground movement, including at Bough Beech. 17,000 sensors and 670 cameras are placed at key locations on the network.

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Image credit: Network Rail


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