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25 Feb 2024

Network Rail release: Emergency work to repair a landslip at Newington will mean buses replace trains between Gillingham and Sittingbourne until Monday 4 March

Network Rail release: Emergency work to repair a landslip at Newington will mean buses replace trains between Gillingham and Sittingbourne until Monday 4 March: Newington landslip aerial shot 3 web

The railway line between Rainham and Sittingbourne will remain closed for at least the next seven days to allow Network Rail engineers to stabilise a landslip next to the railway at Newington.

During this time, a limited bus service will replace Southeastern trains between Sittingbourne, Newington, Rainham and Gillingham. An amended train service will operate between London Victoria and Gillingham, via Denmark Hill; London St Pancras and Rochester; Sittingbourne and Dover Priory, and Sittingbourne and Ramsgate.

The landslip occurred on Friday afternoon following heavy rainfall and upon visiting the site, Network Rail’s geotechnical and structures experts discovered a crack 40 metres long and material that had slipped around five metres down the embankment, resulting in both lines through this area needing to be closed for safety reasons.

Yesterday (Saturday 24 February), Network Rail developed a repair plan and began mobilising a team of engineers and equipment, ready to begin work this evening. Over the course of the next week, Network Rail’s team of engineers will work 24/7 to stabilise the embankment, with the aspiration for the safe running of train services to resume next Monday (4 March).

To do this, the embankment will be regraded, which will involve the excavation of the slipped material before creating a new profile for the embankment. Steps will effectively be cut into the slope before it is backfilled with 3,000 tonnes of stone which will help reduce the gradient and strengthen the embankment.

The new stone will be transported to site by an engineering train in 50 wagons and a rail-mounted digger will be used to deposit the stone onto the embankment. The old slipped material will be removed and transported away by road.

Noise and vibration sensors are also being installed so Network Rail is able to continually monitor, and where possible, reduce disruption to residents living nearby.

Bob Coulson, Network Rail’s Kent route infrastructure director said: “I’m really sorry for the disruption customers are experiencing following a landslip at Newington. The safety of our customers and colleagues is always our number one priority and we’ve unfortunately had to close the railway through this area to allow our engineers to go in and complete emergency repairs.

“We’re acutely aware of how critical this route is for rail passengers, and we’ll be working tirelessly over this coming week to repair and stabilise the embankment as quickly as possible so we can reintroduce services.

“We’re working closely with our colleagues at Southeastern to develop a plan so customers are still able to get to where they need to go.

“I’d like to thank customers and local residents for their patience and understanding while we complete this work.”

Southeastern’s operations and safety director, Scott Brightwell, said: “We are very sorry for the disruption to our services between Sittingbourne and Gillingham, and the impact it is having on our customers. Every effort has been made to open the line, but it will take more time to do the necessary safety repairs.

“If you do need to travel and have no alternative options then we are running a limited bus service between Sittingbourne and Gillingham while the line is closed. Please allow additional time for your journey and we expect queuing arrangements to be in place at busy times.

“There will also be changes to our usual timetable on other routes with some services cancelled and others expected to be extremely busy. Full details are on the Southeastern website and online journey planners will be updated, please check before you travel.

“If anyone is delayed by an additional 15 minutes on their journey, they can also claim Delay Repay compensation on our website.”

Contact information

David Meechan

Communications Manager - Major Programmes

Notes to editors

Southeastern Press Office
0330 095 9091   

About Southeastern

SOUTHEASTERN is owned by SE Trains Ltd, a subsidiary of the Department for Transport’s public sector owning group, ‘DOHL’. DOHL has responsibility for four rail companies, LNER, Northern Trains Limited, TransPennine Trains Limited and SE Trains.

Southeastern is the trading name of SE TRAINS LIMITED. Registered in England under company 03266762. Registered office address: Second Floor, 4 More London Riverside, London SE1 2AU.

SE Trains Limited is a subsidiary of the Department for Transport’s Operator of Last Resort Limited - ‘DOHL’.


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