Engineers have worked around the clock to repair a huge landslip at Hook in Hampshire allowing all four lines to reopen today (Friday 24 February).
Following heavy rainfall in January, part of an embankment near Hook collapsed severely reducing the number of trains that could run on the South West Main Line, leaving trains unable to call at Hook in the direction of Basingstoke.
Urgent works reinstated most of South Western Railway’s (SWR) services from the 23 January, and engineers have since been working around the clock to rebuild the embankment and repair the damaged track.
Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex route director, said: “I’m pleased to say that all four lines have now reopened down in Hook and a full timetable has been reinstated.
“I’d like to say another huge thank you to customers and residents living alongside the railway for their patience while we’ve carried out this huge repair and our partners at SWR for working hand in hand with us to resolve the issue.
“Fixing the landslip at Hook has been an incredibly complex task and we know how disruptive this has been for our customers and we are really sorry for the impact this has had on your journeys.”
On a normal weekday morning, around 13 SWR services run through the area every hour, with services between London Waterloo and Basingstoke, Exeter St Davids, Portsmouth Harbour (via Eastleigh), Salisbury, Southampton Central, Winchester and Weymouth.
This was reduced to just one train every 90 minutes between Basingstoke and Woking immediately after the landslip.
Engineers took the unusual step of reconfiguring the track layout onto a stable section of the embankment, to increase the number of trains that could run between Winchfield and Hook.
The landslip was in a remote location meaning that engineers needed to build a 580-metre-long access road across fields to get materials and machinery to the site.
A 60-metre wall, made up of 100 12-metre-long steel beams driven into the ground to stabilise the embankment, was built to protect the railway from future landslips.
Claire Mann, South Western Railway’s managing director, said: “We are pleased to confirm that all lines between Hook and Winchfield have now reopened, and we are operating our normal timetable again.
“We know how disruptive this has been for our customers and we are really sorry for the impact this has had on their journeys.
“Services have now returned to normal, and we would like to thank our customers for their patience whilst these essential repairs were carried out.”
Image credit: Network Rail