Network Rail will reopen the railway between Redhill and Tonbridge two weeks earlier than expected once repairs to the Edenbridge landslip have been completed, on Monday, 16 March.
Since the railway closed on 22 December, Network Rail engineers and contractors BAM Nuttall have been working round the clock to repair the landslip, one of the largest in the history of this region’s railway, and Southern have been running weekday shuttle trains from Edenbridge to Tonbridge, and buses over the rest of the route.
Network Rail’s route director for Kent, Fiona Taylor, said: “This has been an incredibly challenging landslip for us to repair and it has been a difficult time for passengers too. I’m so grateful to them for their patience and understanding they’ve shown to us this winter and I’m really pleased we are able to open their railway sooner than we expected. It’s a huge tribute to all the people who are working so hard on site to get this job done.”
Southern Customer Service Director Chris Fowler said: “The early reopening of the Tonbridge-Redhill route through Edenbridge is good news for our passengers whom we have kept on the move with shuttle trains and buses.
“We want everyone whose journeys have been delayed by 15 minutes or more to claim the compensation they are due. We have a simple claim form online and passengers can make up to five claims at a time.
“Many passengers will additionally be entitled to claim enhanced compensation because they will have been delayed many times.
“Furthermore, we declassified first class throughout the period to create as much space as possible and so passengers with first class tickets can claim the difference as well. All this information is posted clearly on our website www.southernrailway.com.”
The landslip occurred over a 30m section of embankment, where the railway is carried high over the River Eden and surrounding fields. It followed a month’s worth of rain in one week in December.
A further 400m of railway is being shored up to prevent any further problems in the area.