Wednesday 31 Mar 2021
REMINDER: South East London and north Kent set for improvement work over Easter weekend
Network Rail engineers in the South East are preparing to work in South East London and North Kent to replace a bridge near Dartford, repair earthworks between Hastings and Tonbridge, and improve the track near Hither Green and Petts Wood.
The bank holiday – 2 April to 5 April – follows just over a year of lockdown, when Network Rail’s Kent route has been undertaking as much work as it can while trains are quiet, ready to welcome passengers back to a more reliable railway.
Among the big changes coming this Easter are a major bridge replacement at Dartford station, meaning no trains London-bound from the Kent hub, bridge maintenance between Charing Cross and London Bridge, track improvement work between Hither Green and Petts Wood, and track work on the Catford Loop too. The bridge work at Dartford promises to be a spectacle as the landmark bridge over Hythe Road in the town is craned out and replaced.
Further afield, the line between Hastings and Tonbridge will be closed between Battle and Tunbridge Wells, as engineers continue their programme of strengthening vulnerable earthworks along a route notorious for landslips.
In line with Government guidance, passengers are urged to minimise travel over the Easter bank holiday. Those who do need to travel by rail over this period are urged to plan ahead and check whether their route is affected by the upgrade works taking place.
Network Rail Kent route director Fiona Taylor said: “Like most people, I find it hard to believe we’re coming up for a year living with COVID. In that time, we’ve kept working hard on the railway for our essential workers and this Easter is a continuation of that work. We know that fewer essential workers will be on our trains over the Bank Holiday and that’s why we’re targeting those four days for some major engineering.
“I’m excited to see the new bridge going in at Dartford and the many other smaller projects taking place - it’s all building towards a time when we can welcome more passengers and commuters back to a better railway. In the meantime, I’m really grateful to people for their patience whilst we carry out this vital engineering work over Easter and encourage everyone to please check before they travel.”
Scott Brightwell, Train Services Director at Southeastern, said: “The improvement projects that are taking place across our network will help us to provide more reliable journeys in future but it does mean there will be changes to some of our services. Replacement buses are running, please check the latest timetable and thanks for bearing with us.”
Jenny Saunders, Customer Services Director for Thameslink and Great Northern, said: “We’ve been working closely with Network Rail and Southeastern to minimise the effect of this vital work on train services, and we join them in thanking customers for your understanding while these major improvements are under way.
“Our services on the Rainham and Sevenoaks routes will be very limited over the long weekend, with no Thameslink trains between central London and Gravesend or Swanley. Replacement buses will run between Herne Hill and Swanley via Catford. If you have to travel, please check a journey planner for advice on the alternatives, and allow extra time. You can be confident that we’re keeping trains and stations clean - remember to wash your hands, wear a face covering and keep your distance.”
The investment in the region this Easter is part of the £1.25Billion South East Upgrade – a plan to build a better railway for passengers in South East London and Kent. Find out more here: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/our-routes/kent/kent-and-south-east-london-railway-upgrade-plan/
Notes to Editors
Other locations with major engineering work across the country this Easter include:
- A series of projects on the West Coast Main Line that will impact services in and out of London Euston. This includes early works on the new HS2 terminus, major track renewals between Euston and Milton Keynes, Rugby-Birmingham, Crewe-Wigan and Preston-Penrith, and signalling replacement in Greater Manchester, Preston and Warrington. These works will make the railway more reliable, with the HS2 works helping to add more capacity
- Overhead line maintenance and remodelling works at London King’s Cross to provide passengers with quicker and more reliable journeys. A temporary reduced timetable will be in operation to and from King’s Cross across the bank holiday weekend
- Reconstruction and realignment works between Liverpool Street and Bow to prepare for the introduction of Crossrail services and improve reliability. There will be no services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, while train services to/from Norwich, Ipswich and Clacton-on-Sea will terminate at Ingatestone over the Easter weekend
- Signalling work in the Kingston, Richmond and Twickenham areas, replacing 1970s technology to improve reliability for passengers. Buses will replace trains between Barnes and Feltham and New Malden and Shepperton
- Track renewals and remodelling works between West Hampstead and Mill Hill Broadway to enable one of the platforms for the new Brent Cross station to be built. As a result, some Thameslink and East Midlands Railway services will be slightly reduced.
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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.
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