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Network Rail engineers are reinforcing Bearsted cutting in Kent to prevent landslips, this will mean buses will replace trains between Maidstone East and Ashford International.
Buses will be operating, rather than trains, between Maidstone East and Ashford International to keep passengers on the move and it has been advised that passengers plan ahead for journeys on the Maidstone Line.
Network Rail announced the work back in May and will involve reinforcing the Bearsted cutting to prevent landslips, improve drainage and signalling in this area.
The main impact on passenger journeys will be a week-long closure from Saturday the 7th of August to Sunday the 15th of August 2021.
Closures of the line will also take place on Saturday the 3rd of July, Sunday the 4th of July, Saturday the 24th of July and Sunday the 25th of July.
During this time no trains can run between Maidstone East and Ashford International stations but a rail replacement bus service will be running instead.
Credit: Network Rail
The Bearsted cutting is more than 150 years old and needs ‘soil nailing’ which is a strengthening method and will keep the cutting in a safe and resilient condition. Over the past 10 years, there have been several incidents causing unplanned disruption due to urgent fixes of weather-related movements.
New Year’s day 2021 was the latest landslip which was caused by heavy rain.
More than 2,000 soil nails will be put in place on the lower reaches of the cutting with 6,000+ soil nails being used throughout the project. Network Rail engineers will also be working on power supply feeder cabling between Harrietsham and Charing as well as taking the opportunity to deal with other earthwork, drainage, track and signalling issues including track realignment, rail grinding or re-profiling and flood mitigation.
These maintenance works will also benefit several other stations along the line making the most of the line closure during the project.
Credit: Network Rail
Fiona Taylor, Network Rail Route Director for Kent, said: “Line closures are always a last resort for us because of the disruption they cause passengers, but are sometimes unavoidable. Extreme weather, as a result of climate change, is having a significant impact on our Victorian railway embankments. The works at Bearsted will make the cutting secure for a long time. We’re scheduling them to cause minimum disruption when fewer people are using services so that passengers will benefit from the works as soon as possible.”
Scott Brightwell, Train Services Director at Southeastern, said: “It’s vitally important that Network Rail carry out this essential work along this part of our route. Reducing the risk of landslips will really help to improve reliability for our passengers. We are working on the alternative travel arrangements and we will publish more detailed information for our customers in the coming weeks.”
This article first appeared on www.railadvent.co.uk
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