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Landslip at Barnehurst

Bexleyheath line expected to reopen in time for train services to restart on Monday 18th February.

Bexleyheath line expected to reopen in time for train services to restart on Monday 18th February

Barnehurst 3

A landslip on a railway cutting between Barnehurst and Bexleyheath has resulted in at least 300 tonnes of debris and trees falling on to the railway. This means Network Rail has had to close the line between Kidbrooke and Barnehurst until the weekend, in order for essential repairs to take place and train services to resume over the affected area. 

We’re expecting the line to reopen in time for train services to restart on Monday 18th February, but we will reopen it sooner than that if we’re able to. If anything changes that might delay the reopening of the line, we’ll give passengers as much notice as we can.

Working together with Network Rail, we’ve got a contingency plan in place to make sure you can get to where you need to go.

Replacement buses and alternative travel arrangements

Southeastern will be running replacement buses for passengers who would normally use Kidbrooke, Eltham, Falconwood, Welling, Barnehurst and Bexleyheath stations, and Southeastern ticket holders may also use local TfL bus services between Lewisham and Dartford, or use alternative stations on either the Woolwich or the Sidcup line.

You can use your ticket at no extra cost on:

Why is the landslip affecting the railway?

A landslip was discovered at 04:00 on Monday 11 February by Network Rail’s remote monitoring system. While Network Rail also carries out regular earthworks examinations, the sensors installed in the earth sends messages to alert engineers to any unusual activity.

In this case, a safety speed restriction was put in place and an engineer visited the site and decided it was unsafe to run trains through the cutting. In this case, we were alerted at 4am this morning and a safety speed restriction was put in place. One of our engineers then visited the site and decided it was unsafe to run trains through the cutting.

What is Network Rail doing to repair the damage?

Network Rail now needs to undertake some piling work to stabilise and repair the cutting. In order to do that, they also need to remove the trees and vegetation that have fallen on the track or are at risk or becoming destabilised by the landslip.

The site is now safe for Network Rail’s engineers to get on site and start work immediately, beginning with the clearance of the trees that have slipped and others that are now unstable. Network Rail now needs to bring in trains to move the material away, so cannot open one line for passenger trains.

It’s planned that this work will be finished at the weekend so that the railway line can reopen on Monday 18 February without any speed restrictions that would affect the service.

Haven’t there been landslips at Barnehurst before?

There were previously landslips in the area in February 2010, February 2014, and January 2016, all in different locations. This is a different section of the cutting which has failed – and not the same site as previous landslips.

Why are there landslips in this area?

The landslip has occurred on a cutting, where the railway is lower than the ground, as opposed to an embankment where the railway is raised above the ground. The geology of the ground here is made up of many layers of silt, gravel and clay. Any rain that falls percolates down, and when it hits the clay layer, the water can’t permeate any further, resulting in saturated soil and a landslip.

These types of ground conditions are quite unusual, as usually the ground here is made of London clay or chalk. In this case, the ground is quite variable and Barnehurst has been problematic for many years.

Will I get compensation?

If you use the Bexleyheath line and your journey has been delayed as a result of the landslip, you can claim Delay Repay compensation at double the normal value for this week only (Monday to Friday), if you normally travel from one of the six stations below:

  • Kidbrooke
  • Eltham
  • Falconwood
  • Welling
  • Barnehurst
  • Bexleyheath

To make a Delay Repay Claim, click here or pick up a leaflet at one of our stations.

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