Work to protect passengers from delays caused by landslips and improve passenger experience was completed over an eight-day closure of the railway from Saturday 11 to Saturday 18 February 2023
Network Rail colleagues worked at 32 sites over the eight-day closure. Cuttings were stabilised at six sites, all stations along the line were deep cleaned and refurbished, structures were repaired and essential maintenance was completed along the 22 miles of closed track.
Why was the work needed?
The work was needed to reduce the risk of landslips on the line disrupting passenger and freight services.
Changing weather patterns mean we are experiencing drier summers and much wetter winters. This has a major impact on a railway that was largely designed and built in the Victorian era when the understanding of construction materials and geology was less advanced than today.
While we constantly monitor embankments and cuttings to keep passengers safe and alert the train operator when sensors detect any ground movement, this approach can have an impact on the punctuality of services.
What did we do?
At Selling a king post wall, made of steel posts hammered into the ground and reinforced with pre-cast concrete blocks, was built at the bottom of the cutting. Thousands of tonnes of earth was removed from the cutting slope to reduce its steepness.
At Aylesham, Faversham, Bekesbourne, Shepherds Wells and Snowdown dangerous vegetation was removed from the cuttings, and rock netting repairs were carried out to keep the railway and passengers safe from falling trees and rocks.
350m of drainage was rebuilt within the Selling tunnel
Kearnsey, Shepherds Well, Snowdown, Canterbury East, Bekesbourne and Aylesham stations received a facelift. All were jet washed and repainted.
The platforms were resurfaced at Kearnsey, and the car park resurfaced at Canterbury East.
Diseased and non-native trees were removed. Areas replanted/reseeded with native plants and wildflower, and wildlife habitats created.
Brickwork was repaired on the Victorian era Shepherds Well overbridge and in the Lydden tunnel.
What are the benefits?
- More reliable journeys and improved customer experience
- Reducing the risk of landslips will improve passenger safety and keep trains running at full line speed.
- Improved drainage will prevent flooding on the line, keeping trains moving in times of heavy rainfall, while ensuring track and signalling equipment aren’t don’t suffer water damage.
- Structures repairs will keep trains and vehicles moving long into the future.
- Cleaner, brighter stations with enhanced biodiversity to improve the passenger experience.
For more information or to get in touch with us, please contact us by visiting our contact us page or by calling our 24-hour national helpline on 03457 11 41 41