Landslide causes chaos for thousands of commuters

Engineers worked for four days to clear the track after the first landslide, which was caused by extreme weather conditions last Wednesday, including torrential rain and strong winds. A tree collapsed and more than 60 tonnes of earth and mud covered the track. 

Heavy duty equipment was needed to clear debris, including a 105-tonne excavator with a 30 metre [approx100ft] reach.

Network Rail said after the first event: “Because the earth is still moving, we cannot risk passenger safety by running trains. Network Rail engineers have also been unable to start clearing the fallen trees and mud because of the movement.”

After the first landslide was cleared, another occurred approximately three quarters of a mile away on Sunday, although Southeastern said thanks to Network Rail having all the machinery nearby, they managed to reopen the line on Monday morning.

The blocked tracks added hours onto journeys between London and Hastings. Buses were used to ferry travellers between stations.

This is not the first time the rail services have been hit by a landslide.In February  there was a landslide on Southeastern near to Barnehurst, north east of Bexleyheath, which also took several days to reopen.

A spokesman from Network Rail said: “There is not a lot we can do to prevent this from happening in the future.”

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