South Western Railway (SWR) will restore some services between the south coast and the west of England to London Waterloo from today (Monday) following temporary repairs in Hook after the recent landslip.
The landslip left a 44-metre stretch of track suspended in mid-air, with only one track of the usual four available for services. This meant only a severely restricted service between Basingstoke and Woking could operate, with no through trains to London Waterloo from Exeter St Davids, Salisbury, Weymouth, Bournemouth, Southampton Central, Winchester, and Portsmouth Harbour via Eastleigh.
While a permanent repair of the embankment is likely to take a number of weeks, on Saturday and Sunday, Network Rail emergency works temporarily changed the layout of tracks through the landslip area to provide two tracks for services to run on.
This short-term solution will increase the capacity of the line between Basingstoke and Woking, allowing some, but not all, direct services to be reinstated.
Trains will also be able to call at Hook, Winchfield, and Fleet stations again. However, trains from London will not call at Hook, because of the position of the landslip. A minibus service will operate between Hook and Winchfield for those needing to disembark at Hook.
The line between Basingstoke and Woking remains closed on Sunday whilst work is carried out, with a rail replacement bus service operating for all stations between Basingstoke and Woking. Customers are urged to only travel between Basingstoke and Woking if absolutely necessary, as buses are likely to be very busy.
While these changes will deliver a significant and very welcome increase in capacity from Monday, the short-term solution at Hook will not deliver the previous full capacity of the four-track railway, meaning customers should expect a reduced frequency of services and some alterations to service patterns until further notice.
Peter Williams, customer and commercial director of South Western Railway, said: “We are very sorry for the ongoing disruption caused by the major landslip at Hook last weekend, which has meant a severely reduced service on one of the country’s busiest railway lines.
“With the permanent restoration of the embankment a number of weeks away, it is good news for our customers that Network Rail’s emergency works will increase the capacity of the route and enable us to reconnect London to the South West from Monday morning.
“With a reduced timetable in place, we urge customers to check the latest travel information on our website before travelling on Monday and to allow extra time for their journeys.
“We would like to thank customers for their patience and understanding.”