Serious landslip on Redhill-Tonbridge line to be repaired by the end of March

One of Britain’s earliest railways, the line here runs on an “embankment” above the surrounding landscape, built out of earth in the late 1830s. On 22 December 2019, the embankment began to subside and eventually left the tracks hanging over a void.

The remote location means it has taken a long time to work out how to access the slip and how to repair it, but we are confident in our plan to tackle the damage and we aim to return the line to full service by the end of March 2020.

Why?

After a month’s worth of rain in one week the soil had become saturated and the nearby River Eden overtopped its banks. Kent endured three months’ worth of rainfall in November alone, so the land around the line had become unable to soak up any more rain.

The slip is a “rotational failure” where a layer of soil on the embankment has slipped towards the river , lifting the toe – the bottom – of the embankment up. The embankment was built of clay laid on alluvial soil, deposited by the river over centuries, and that alluvial soil was saturated and unable to hold up the clay as it moved.

We have accessed the site of the slip by building a road across a field, cutting through the existing embankment (see picture) and we will now begin rebuilding the railway with 40,000 tonnes of stone.

This stone will be delivered by train as the remoteness of the location means lorries would simply not be able to get through the road network.

What about my trains?

Our colleagues at Southern have issued travel arrangements while the line is closed;

  • Train shuttle service between Tonbridge – Edenbridge on weekdays.
  • Bus replacement service between Redhill and Edenbridge on weekdays, calling at Nutfield Memorial Hall.
  • Minibus between Redhill and Nutfield station every day.
  • Bus replacement service over the whole line at weekends.

You can find out the full detail of these travel arrangements on Southern’s website.