Work to begin on Ashford to Hastings rail upgrade

Posted: 30 December 2011 | | No comments yet

Work starts on 9 January 2012 on a major upgrade of the railway between Hastings and Ashford…

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Work starts on 9 January 2012 on a major upgrade of the railway between Hastings and Ashford which will provide more reliable journeys for passengers and be the first step in potentially reducing journey times in the future.

The nine-week programme centres on essential maintenance work in Ore tunnel to improve the drainage and repair lining to the inside of the structure to prevent water seeping through. In order to take full advantage of the track closure, Network Rail engineers have re-scheduled a wide range of other improvement works to avoid further disruption in the future and allow better services for passengers in the years to come. These include:

  • Renewing the track through the tunnel and around the Ore area; ¾ mile of track between Rye and Winchelsea; and around one mile of track between Ashford and Ham Street. This will result in old, noisy jointed track being replaced with smooth continuous rails.
  • Refurbishment of three sets of points to improve reliability
  • Replacement of rail-over-road bridges at Doleham and Three Oaks
  • Surveys and maintenance of an embankment between Ashford and Ham Street
  • Maintenance of 18 bridges and culverts between Ashford and Hastings
  • Track improvements (tamping) to enable the line speed to be increased in the future between Rye and Hastings

Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s route managing director for Kent, said: “The maintenance work in Ore tunnel is vital for us to continue running a safe and reliable railway. We appreciate the impact this will have on passengers’ journeys which is why we have programmed so much other work to be done at the same time to reduce the amount of potential disruption in the future.

“There is never an ideal time to carry out this scale of work and after seeking the views of community and business representatives we were keen to avoid the summer months which are so important for the local economy. We thank passengers in advance for their patience while we carry out this important work and are confident the improvements we are making are the first step towards cutting journey times which is great news for passengers in the long term.”

During the work there will be no trains running between Ashford and Hastings. Southern has been working with Network Rail, highways and local authorities to put a rail replacement bus and taxi service in place.

Work is scheduled for completion on 9 March 2012.

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