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22/05/2024

Network Rail To Begin Work On Blackheath Tunnel

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Network Rail engineers are set to commence work on the 175-year-old Blackheath tunnel, resulting in a 10-week closure of train services between Blackheath and Charlton.

The works which begin on 1 June will involve cleaning soot from tunnel using a specialist industrial vacuum cleaner and replacing tens of thousands of bricks damaged by the freezing and thawing of rainwater. Network Rail will also install a new concrete tunnel lining to stop water leaking into the tunnel.

These additional works will result in reduced disruption for customers in the long run and will play a crucial role in ensuring the reliable operation of the railway for years to come.

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Southeastern trains which normally run through the tunnel will be diverted via other routes during the closure. The tunnel will reopen on Monday 12 August when services between Blackheath and Charlton will resume.

David Davidson, Network Rail’s Kent route director, said: "Working consecutively over 10 weeks means we can reduce the overall disruption to passengers and give them reliability improvements sooner. The alternative would have been a year of weekend closures.

"We look to manage the impact of work on railway neighbours, carrying out any noisy activities during the day, but with the tunnel more than 20m underground any noise and vibration from the work will be minimal.

"After we've cleared the soot from the tunnel this summer, a full assessment of the extent of further repair work needed next year can be made. We're really grateful to passengers and neighbours for their patience and are working closely with Southeastern to make sure everyone understands the changes and the impact on their journeys."

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