Line between Guildford and Wokingham reopens

Services between Guildford, Aldershot and Wokingham have restarted following repair of a 40-metre landslip near the small village of Wanborough over the Christmas period.

Heavy rain from Storm Bella caused the embankment to deteriorate, leaving the track unsupported. The line was closed for safety reasons and emergency work was carried out. Network Rail engineers stabilised the site near Westwood Lane bridge, sinking 17-metre-long steel sheets into the ground to prevent the earth from moving any further.

Mark Killick, route director, Network Rail Wessex said: “The emergency work is now complete and the line has reopened for critical workers, however our team will stay on site to deliver the remaining activity and ensure the embankment is secure for years to come.”

Derek Butcher, Network Rail Southern region’s route asset manager for geotechnics, said: “London Clay is not a material we would build railways out of these days, but our Victorian ancestors weren’t so advanced with their knowledge of soil mechanics. At this location the embankment had absorbed so much water over December, it moved out from underneath the track, leaving the railway unsupported.”

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