If you use Southeastern railway through Bexleyheath in South London, consider this a tip to book a week off work next February.
After four landslips in the past decade – the most recent in February this year, blocking the line for seven days – Network Rail has decided to close the railway between Kidbrooke and Barnehurst from Saturday 15th February to Sunday 23rd February 2020 for urgent repair works.
This coincides with the school half-term, when it’s typically quieter.
The alternative to a 9-day closure would have been two years worth of weekend closures and considering the urgency of the work they’ve decided that the blockade of the line is the best thing to prevent any more landslips.
During the closure, they plan to remove thousands of tonnes of soil to reduce the incline of the cutting and build retaining walls with steel beams hammered six metres into the ground. Engineers will also bring in another 8,000 tonnes of material, such as gravel and concrete, to build retaining walls along both sides of the cutting, stretching 650 metres.
The walls are made from steel beams, which are vibrated and driven into the ground six metres deep and then finished with huge concrete blocks and will stop any future landslips from reaching the tracks.
Keeping passengers moving during the closures
The Woolwich and Sidcup lines and the Charlton to Blackheath link will remain open. Capacity on alternative routes will be increased by running additional or longer trains. Rail replacement bus services will be available.
The following stations will be closed for 9 days
More detailed information on the exact times of additional services and bus replacements will be available nearer the proposed closures.
They estimate that the work will protect this section of the railway line from landslips for 120 years.