Rail disruption is expected to continue into this evening because of work to repair a four-metre deep sinkhole.
Network Rail say a ‘significantly reduced service’ will continue to run to and from London Bridge for the rest of the day and evening as engineers continue to fix the hole at Forest Hill in south London.
All four lines between East Croydon and London Bridge are closed while repairs take place which means that Southern services to and from London Bridge are either being diverted or cancelled.
Southern and Thameslink passengers are being advised to check before they travel and use trains from Victoria or London Blackfriars to get to East Croydon instead of London Bridge.
London Overground services will not run between West Croydon/Crystal Palace and New Cross Gate and passengers are advised to use alternative routes.
A hole in the track at Forest Hill disrupted services from yesterday afternoon and Network Rail says engineers have been working with Thames Water throughout the night to identify and fix the problem.
Engineers are putting dry concrete into the hole, which will form a base where wet concrete will be poured on top. When the concrete has set, around 50 tonnes of ballast will be poured into the hole with the aim of opening the railway tomorrow.
The time required for the concrete to set means the work will take the remainder of the day and evening.
Network Rail area director Paul Rutter said: “We appreciate this isn’t the news that passengers want to hear but we are doing everything we can to get services back to normal. Because of the location of the hole we won’t be able to run trains on this track through to London Bridge for the rest of the day.
“Everything has to be done in stages and we have to confident that this repair will last to enable us to run a safe railway.
“We understand this is going to disrupt people’s journeys and passengers are advised to check before they travel and allow extra time for their journeys. We apologise for the disruption and assure passengers that we are working hard to restore the railway to full capacity.”
Thames Water is continuing to work alongside Network Rail to make repairs to a collapsed sewer under a hole at Forest Hill station. Engineers have located the problem section of pipe and are working to seal it and divert sewer flows. This will then allow Network Rail to begin filling in the hole.
Carl Leadbetter, Thames Water’s regional network manager, said: “Our teams continue to work as fast as possible on this critical job. While we need to work quickly to reopen the train lines, we also need to consider local residents, who will potentially suffer from sewer flooding if the pipe is not properly enclosed. This is an extremely complex job as the pipe is in a difficult location in the tracks and six metres below the ground.”
A Southern spokesman said: “We understand this is extremely frustrating for our passengers. The closure of all four lines between London Bridge and East Croydon means that our services have had to be diverted or cancelled. Our advice is to check before travelling and allow plenty of time to complete your journey today. Passengers for East Croydon should avoid using London Bridge and travel via Victoria or Blackfriars instead.”
Currently Horsham to London Bridge services are diverted to Victoria; East Grinstead, Uckfield, Caterham and Tattenham Corner services to London Bridge are running, but are being diverted via Crystal Palace;Mainline services to London Bridge from Littlehampton, Bognor Regis and Eastbourne are cancelled;Thameslink Brighton to London Bridge services are starting/terminating at Gatwick Airport.
London Overground trains are disrupted between Crystal Palace/West Croydon and New Cross Gate. TfL are running rail replacement buses between Anerley and New Cross Gate calling at Brockley, Honor Oak Park, Forest Hill, Sydenham and Crystal Palace, and are also providing more services on bus routes 122 and 171. Tickets will be accepted on any reasonable alternative routes.
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