Nine day closure affecting all trains between Maidstone East and Ashford International from Saturday 7 to Sunday 15 August 2021 (inclusive)

Bearsted cutting
Bearsted cutting

From Saturday 7 to Sunday 15 August 2021 inclusive, plus some associated weekends in July, no trains will run between Maidstone East and Ashford International stations

Network Rail engineers will use the time to structurally reinforce a steep railway cutting at Bearsted in order to prevent landslips in this area.  

Passengers are advised to plan ahead for this major work.

Key dates

  • Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 July (Maidstone East to Ashford)
  • Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 July (Maidstone East to Ashford)
  • Saturday 7 to Sunday 15 August (Maidstone East to Ashford)

What the work will involve

Work includes:

  • Over 2,000 soil nails will be installed in the lower reaches of Bearsted cutting during the blockade
  • At the same time, engineers will be taking the opportunity to work on power supply feeder cabling between Harrietsham and Charing
  • Earthwork, drainage, track and signalling maintenance issues, including track realignment, rail grinding / reprofiling and flood mitigation at other stations
  • To provide additional benefits to passengers Network Rail will also be looking at options to carry out other maintenance work at stations when they are closed.

Passenger survey

We would like to find out how much you know about this project and get your views on the best way to keep you informed about how it may affect your travel.


Reduced risk of landslips on the line – In the past decade alone, engineers have visited Bearsted on numerous occasions to secure the railway and install temporary fixes to weather-related movement. New Year’s Day 2021 was the most recent landslip after heavy rain. This nine day blockade in August means engineers can get in to strengthen the cutting, making it secure for a lifetime with no need to return for emergency work in future. Drainage improvements will also help reduce or prevent the risk of flooding elsewhere on the line.

Less overall disruption to passengers and the benefits delivered soonerThis work bank was also considered as taking place over multiple weekends which would have meant more disruption to both passengers and local residents.  

By doing the work over a concentrated nine consecutive days (plus some associated weekend work), the overall disruption to passengers can be significantly reduced, while fast-tracking the delivery of the reliability and safety benefits of the project. 

Better, more reliable journeys – This essential work will help reduce the number of delays in the long term and therefore improve passenger journeys.

Passenger disruption

The work requires the line between Maidstone East and Ashford International stations to be closed meaning that there will be some disruption. The closures have been carefully planned for the summer holidays, when passenger numbers are lower, and some people may be able to be more flexible with their travel plans.

Passengers wishing to travel on these dates will need to allow considerably more time for their journeys and should expect to use replacement bus or coach services.

We are working to ensure people have as many alternative options as possible over the closures and will confirm detailed travel arrangements as soon as these are made available.

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Contact us

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.