Network Rail engineers are taking emergency action to shore up a damaged section of railway this weekend on the Uckfield line.
A 30-metre section of embankment, where the railway is raised above the level of the surrounding land, has started to slip following Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis. Trains have been able to continue to run with speed restrictions but work is needed immediately to stop the line from being blocked completely.
Further forecast bad weather could speed this process up so engineers will be building a steel wall over the weekend to hold the railway in place at the site just outside Edenbridge. The line will reopen for business on Monday morning with further work continuing while trains run.
Network Rail’s route director for Sussex, Shaun King, said: “I’m really sorry for the short notice closure of this line, on top of all the other disruption people have endured this winter. We’ve had to take this action because there’s a serious risk this landslip could get much worse very quickly. Short notice work is never easy for passengers but in this case it will stop much worse disruption from happening in future.
“I’m enormously grateful to our lineside neighbours for letting us access the site. Without their help and understanding we wouldn’t be able to do this work and we’re working with them to minimise disruption.”
Southern Customer Services Director Chris Fowler said: “We fully support Network Rail in their sensible action to contain this landslip, allowing us to keep our service running next week.
“We’ll share full travel advice this afternoon but, where possible, I would urge people to avoid travelling from stations between Uckfield and Edenbridge Town and consider alternatives such as Tunbridge Wells, Haywards Heath or Lewes.”
Information on travel advice and ticket acceptance will be available from 4pm today (Friday) at www.southernrailway.com . The advice to customers is where possible to avoid travelling from stations on the route or to make alternative arrangements to travel from a station such as Tunbridge Wells, Haywards Heath or Lewes.