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Wadhurst tunnel

Wadhurst tunnel work is complete

After seven days work involving over a hundred engineers, Network Rail handed back the railway to passenger services in the early hours of Saturday morning (30 October 2021).

What the work involved

Over the 7 days , we:

  • Stabilised Wadhurst cutting with 5,400 soil nails and mesh, with 15,000m2 of vegetation removed to help protect the railway from landslips and other extreme weather.
  • Completed piling at multiple sites, including Churchsettle and Nevills golf course, whilst Crowhurst had a king retaining wall installed.
  • Began a footbridge refurbishment at Etchingham, which is due to end in December.
  • Gave our stations along the route some much needed attention, with painting, litter pics and re-surfacing works.
  • Diversified our lineside vegetation with the help of our ecologists, removing diseased trees, creating animal habitats and rewilding railway land

Our engineers will be revisiting the site in Autumn half-term 2022 (Dates to be confirmed) to carry out further improvement works. Details will be released closer to the works beginning.

Benefits of work

The steep cutting was dug more than 170 years ago and has suffered from several landslips in recent years, causing significant disruption to passengers on this key line of route between the coast and central London. The stabilisation work will mean more reliable train services between the capital and Hastings and is expected to be secure with a lifespan of at least 60 years.

  • Reduced risk of landslips on the line – In the past decade alone, engineers have visited Wadhurst tunnel on numerous occasions to secure the railway and install temporary fixes to weather-related movements. This seven-day blockade during October half-term meant engineers could strengthen the cutting, making it as secure as possible.
  • Less overall disruption to passengers and the benefits delivered sooner – By doing the work over a concentrated period of seven consecutive days, the overall disruption to passengers was 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.

Please visit our Twitter page to view pictures and videos from the work as well as future updates on the railway across Kent.

We would like to take this moment to thank you for your patience whilst we completed these essential works.

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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.

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