The railway between Ashford and Hastings has reopened following a nine-week upgrade to provide more reliable journeys for passengers and take the first step towards potentially reducing journey times in the future.
The main element of the work focused on strengthening Ore tunnel, in addition to improving the drainage and repairing lining inside to prevent water seeping through.
Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s route managing director for Kent, said: “We thank people for their patience over the last nine weeks. We have carried out a lot of improvements during this time which we hope will deliver a better train service for passengers in the long term.
Paul Wyborn, Southern area manager, said: “Our passengers have been very understanding throughout the period of work and I would like to thank them for their patience.”
To take full advantage of the track closure, Network Rail engineers also scheduled a wide range of other works to take place at the same time to reduce further disruption in the future and allow better services for passengers in the years to come. These included:
- 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
Until 9 April special offer fares are available from Southern for those who travel between Hastings and Ashford.