Woking and Crewkerne landslips repairs progress update: An SWR service travels past the landslip site between Brookwood and Woking at 20mph

Friday 8 Dec 2023

Woking and Crewkerne landslips repairs progress update

Region & Route:
| Southern: Wessex

Network Rail are working around the clock to repair landslips at Woking in Surrey and Crewkerne in Somerset as full service expected to resume from Monday morning.

Woking landslip

On Thursday 30 November, electronic sensors in the ground detected movement on a 100-metre-long slope next to the St John’s Hill Road overbridge between Brookwood and Woking in Surrey.

Network Rail’s geotechnical experts discovered cracks up to 45 metres long, 50cm wide and a metre deep in some places. They began work earlier this week to install 170 sheet piles, 10-metre-long pieces of steel driven into the ground at the base of the slope to protect the railway.

Work will continue this weekend with only two of the four tracks through the area available from Friday, December 8 to Sunday, December 10. This means there is a significantly reduced service between Woking and Basingstoke, impacting routes to Exeter, Salisbury, Southampton, Bournemouth and Weymouth and customers are asked to only travel if absolutely necessary. Services on these routes will also start later than usual on Sunday 10 December, at around 0930. Customers should check before travelling.

A normal service is expected to run on Monday, but with only three of the four tracks available, customers are asked to check their journey before travelling.

While it is still to be confirmed, it is likely that Network Rail’s engineers will return on Friday 22 to Sunday 24 December to continue the repairs, which means two of the four lines will have to close. Network Rail and South Western Railway will announce further details when they become available.

Crewkerne landslip

On Monday, December 4, over 90mm of rain in just a few hours caused a landslip and severe flooding at Crewkerne tunnel on the West of England line, which closed the line between Salisbury and Exeter.

Engineers began repair work on Tuesday using ropes to abseil down the cutting and start removing vegetation. They need to excavate 300 tonnes of clay, soil and vegetation from around the tunnel entrance to help stabilise the cutting.

A 150-tonne crane and a long-reach excavator are expected to arrive on site today, Friday, to help with the removal of the debris.

If works go to plan over the weekend, the railway will reopen on Monday morning, reinstating through services to Exeter, but with a 20mph speed restriction to keep customers safe. Customers are urged to check before they travel on Monday just in case.

West of England line blockade

Over the past few weeks, engineers have been completing planned upgrades on the West of England line between Salisbury and Yeovil Junction to help improve the reliability of the railway for customers.

The full line is set to reopen on Monday morning.

Matt Pocock, Network Rail Wessex route director, said: “I’m incredibly sorry for the tough time our customers have experienced this past week owing to the landslips at Crewkerne and Woking, which have either closed or significantly reduced services on two key commuter lines across our route.

“I’d like to assure everyone that me and my team are doing everything we can to carry out the repairs and return the railway to our customers as quickly and safely as possible.

“I would like to thank the local community and our customers for being so understanding even though our work has been noisy and disruptive which has made a very challenging job a little bit easier for our colleagues.

“While we’re very confident we can return both railways to our customers on Monday, these are complex repairs, and more work will need to be done, therefore I’d urge everyone to check before they travel next week to be on the safe side.”

Steve Tyler, SWR performance and planning director, said: “I’m pleased that after a really tough week for our customers we’re able to provide the welcome news that a normal service will resume between Woking and Basingstoke on Monday 11 December. If work continues as planned at Crewkerne tunnel, we will also fully restore services between Salisbury and Exeter St David’s on Monday.

“In the meantime, we’d like to remind customers that a severely reduced service will operate between Woking and Basingstoke on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 December. Customers should check before travelling.

“We are advising customers not to attempt to travel between Salisbury and Exeter St David’s on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 December. This is because only a very limited shuttle service is operating between Salisbury and Yeovil Junction, and rail replacement bus services are still subject to disruption due to flooding on local roads.

“We’re very sorry for the disruption our customers have experienced in recent weeks and are very grateful for their patience.”

Contact information

Passengers / community members
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03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
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Rob Breckon
Senior Communications Manager - Southern
Network Rail
07395 390759

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