Holmwood landslip.(Network Rail Images)
Network Rail engineers have worked through the night to remove more than 20 tonnes of debris from the railway after a landslip at Holmwood in Surrey caused the line to be closed between Horsham and Dorking.
The landslip has caused an estimated 100 tonnes of mud, grass and trees to come down onto the tracks – however the embankment remains unstable and further slippage has occurred as the debris is removed from the track. As a result, the line is likely to remain closed until at least the end of the day (Friday).
An emergency response team has been on site since yesterday (Thursday) afternoon, when a small embankment slip was reported by a train driver. One line was able to be kept open initially, however further significant movement led to both lines being closed.
Network Rail engineers are using a range of equipment including a crane and road-rail vehicles to remove the spoil to the nearest access point more than half a mile away. Once the spoil has been removed, the focus will turn to stabilising the embankment to enable to railway to reopen.
A replacement bus service in operation between Horsham and Dorking calling at all stations, running at 30-minute intervals. Further updates will be provided today and passengers are advised to check before travelling for the latest information.
Shaun King, Network Rail interim chief operating officer, said:
“Our team has worked hard through the night to remove more than 20 tonnes of debris from the tracks, but there’s still a huge amount more to do. It’s a challenging location but we’re absolutely focused on getting the railway back open for Southern passengers as quickly and safely as possible.”
A Southern spokeswoman said:
“We apologise to those impacted by this incident. To help passengers keep moving, a replacement bus service has been in place since 05:00 this morning – in both directions – and continues to depart every 30 minutes, calling at all stations. We also have ticket acceptance in place with South Western Railway between Dorking and Clapham Junction. We encourage passengers to allow extra time for their journeys today.”