Kent and South London rail passengers urged to plan ahead this Easter: Walking to work in Polhill Tunnel, Kent, over the Bank Holiday

Monday 18 Mar 2019

Kent and South London rail passengers urged to plan ahead this Easter

Region & Route:

Network Rail is urging rail passengers in south London and Kent to check before they travel this Easter as thousands of engineers work around the clock to deliver major signalling upgrades to improve reliability for passengers.


The programme of work is part of Network Rail’s railway upgrade plan – a multi-billion-pound investment in the rail network which will improve passenger journeys in the months and years ahead.

From Friday 19 April to Sunday 21 April, Network Rail will be working to complete a £55m signalling upgrade from Deptford to Woolwich and Lewisham to Falconwood, replacing old signalling kit with new, more reliable technology that will improve journeys for passengers. 

  • While work takes place replacement buses will run on the Woolwich line between Lewisham and Dartford via Greenwich and Woolwich.
  • On the Bexleyheath line, buses will replace trains between Lewisham and Dartford via Bexleyheath.
  • Trains between London Victoria and Dartford / Gravesend will be diverted via Sidcup.
  • Trains between London Cannon Street and Slade Green via Bexleyheath will run between London Cannon Street and Dartford, via Sidcup.
  • Thameslink services between London Bridge and Dartford will not run, but an hourly shuttle will run between Dartford and Rainham.

On Sunday 21 April, we will also start work on an £88m project to upgrade the signalling from Hither Green to New Eltham, Elmstead Woods and Bromley North. The state-of-the-art high output ballast cleaner will be working to improve track quality and reduce delays between Grove Park and Chislehurst. This work will result in amendments to some services. 

Also, on Sunday 21 April, Network Rail will be renewing switches and crossings in Paddock Wood, the moveable sections of track that allow trains to switch lines. Buses will replace trains between Tonbridge and Ashford International / Maidstone West.

John Halsall, route managing director of Network Rail south east, said: “This Easter we’ll complete work on a major signalling upgrade in south east London and start work on a second upgrade in the Hither Green area, as well as undertaking a wide range of improvements and maintenance across the network.

“There is never a good time to close the railway, but we know that it’s up to 50 per cent quieter than usual over bank holidays, which reduces the impact of our work on passengers.

“I’d like to thank people for their patience and remind them to check before they travel this Easter.”


New signalling technology will improve reliability for passengers

Ellie Burrows, train services director at Southeastern, added: “Above all, our passengers value punctual and reliable trains, and this investment in essential maintenance and the renewal of vital infrastructure by Network Rail will help ensure the railway runs as smoothly as possible for Southeastern’s passengers.”

A breakdown of how journeys will be affected can be found by visiting and following #EasterRailWorks on Twitter.

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Paul Dent-Jones

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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