Two more weeks for passengers to prepare for line closure from Tunbridge Wells to Hastings: A Southeastern train winds its way through Church Settle, where Network Rail will be working this October

Tuesday 12 Oct 2021

Two more weeks for passengers to prepare for line closure from Tunbridge Wells to Hastings

Region & Route:
Southern: Kent
| Southern
  • Strengthening of multiple steep-sided landslip-prone cuttings near Tunbridge Wells
  • Work to refurbish Etchingham footbridge and improve bio-diversity along the line 
  • Bus replacement services will take passengers to their destinations while works are carried out

Passengers are being asked to check before they travel ahead of major engineering work by Network Rail between Tunbridge Wells and Hastings this half term (Saturday 23 to Friday 29 October 2021) meaning no trains will be able to run between those stations.

The works will centre on the Victorian-built Wadhurst Tunnel, which has seen its steep-sided entrances increasingly affected by heavy rain fall and subsidence in recent years.

Much like a recently-completed project at Bearsted in Kent, the project will see soil nails driven into the cutting face at both ends of the tunnel, to hold them fast.

Also taking place during the partial line closure are works to upgrade Etchingham station's footbridge and remove diseased and non-native trees. This is intended to open up the woodland and create opportunities for pollinators. 

By doing the work over a concentrated period of seven consecutive days, the overall disruption to passengers can be significantly reduced, while fast-tracking the delivery of the reliability and safety benefits of the project.

Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s Route Director for Kent , said: “Passengers have two weeks to prepare for the closure of the line from Tunbridge Wells to Hastings. The steep cuttings along the line have suffered from a number of landslips in recent years, causing significant disruption to passengers on this key route between the coast and central London and we are nearing the end of our works to stabilise them.

“We’ll be tackling a number of other jobs such as improving biodiversity and carrying out station improvement works which will make the most of the line closure and minimise disruption for passengers.”

Scott Brightwell, Train Services Director at Southeastern, said: “This essential work will help reduce the number of delays in the long term and therefore improve passenger journeys.

“We’d ask that our passengers wishing to travel on these dates allow considerably more time for their journeys which will involve accessible rail replacement buses and coaches.

“We’re working to ensure people have as many alternative options as possible during the closures."

Using the opportunity of the line closure engineers will also be working on a number of other sites along the route, including at the Nevill Golf Club embankment.

Network Rail will also be carrying out other maintenance work at stations when they are closed during the blockade.

In the past decade engineers have visited Wadhurst tunnel on numerous occasions to secure the railway and install temporary fixes to weather-related movements.

Passengers are being advised to check their train services between Tunbridge Wells and Hastings with rail bus replacement services being provided for those who wish to travel.

Notes to Editors

  • For more information, visit Southeastern Railway's dedicated webpage.
  • Photo: A Southeastern train winds its way past one of the areas Network Rail will be working in October, past Church Settle Lane.

Contact information

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Scott Wilson
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