STORY UPDATED AT 9PM, Tuesday, July 19
Many Uckfield and Buxted rail passengers are coming home on buses from Oxted.
Rail services have been severely disrupted by a sewer collapse in south London, at Forest Hill.
Uckfield Line services have continued to run into London Bridge via an alternative route but have been severely delayed.
Trains have been unable to keep to timetable, leading to cancellations and services cancelled short of their destinations.
A considerable number of people have been bussed home from Oxted along country lanes, more than doubling the length of the journey.
The last two trains into Uckfield tonight from Oxted were timetabled to be rail replacement buses.
Network Rail – responsible for rail infrastructure – said:
“Engineers are putting dry concrete into the hole. This 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.
“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 [Uckfield trains are taking a circuitous and longer route].
“Everything has to be done in stages and we have to be confident that this repair will last to enable us to run a safe railway.”
Paul Rutter, Network Rail area director, said: “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 the hole at Forest Hill station.
Engineers have located the problem section of pipe and are working to seal it and divert sewer flows, allowing Network Rail engineers 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.”
STORY UPDATED AT 3.10pm, Tuesday, July 19
Commuters coming from home this afternoon and evening from London Bridge to Uckfield and Buxted face more problems.
Services are already showing as being delayed.
Train operator Southern is sturggling to provide services between East Croydon and London Bridge after a sink hole was discovered yesterday in south London at Forest Hill.
The sink hole has been discovered to be a length of sewer which had collapsed.
Southern said: “Network Rail and Thames Water are working together to repair and fill the hole.
“Due to the complex nature of the work involved we have been informed that the affected lines will remain closed until the end of the day.
“For the remainder of today, a reduced train service will operate to and from London Bridge using a diversionary route.
“Our trains are unable to call at Anerley, Penge West, Sydenham, Forest Hill, Honor Oak Park, Brockley or New Cross Gate.
“You are advised to travel to/from an alternative London station (such as Victoria or Blackfriars) and avoid using London Bridge.
“If you need to change trains, you are advised to do so at your earliest opportunity and to avoid doing so at East Croydon as this station is expected to be extremely busy.
“For more information, including details of ticket acceptance please see our live running information page.”
This morning’s story
Train services to and from London on the Uckfield Line are again disrupted this morning (July 19).
It follows yesterday’s chaos on services from London Bridge after a huge sink hole appeared near Forest Hill in south London.
Train operator Southern said:
“On Monday a large hole developed below the track in the Forest Hill area (between East Croydon and London Bridge).
“Assessments and plans were made to repair and fill the hole with additional ballast material that supports the track and work on this repair has continued overnight.
“We are not currently able to estimate when the line will reopen however we currently expect a complete closure until at least mid afternoon today, Tuesday, 19th July.
“Trains from East Grinstead, Caterham, Tattenham Corner and Uckfield are expected to run to and from London Bridge, however these services will use the diversionary route so will be unable to serve stations between Norwood Jn and London Bridge via Forest Hill.
“Mainline train services which normally operate from Eastbourne, Littlehampton or Bognor Regis to London Bridge are expected to be cancelled.
“Trains which normally operate between Horsham and London Bridge will be either diverted to/from London Victoria or amended to start/terminate at East Croydon.”
Check with National Rail before travelling, alterations and further information will be made available once confirmed.
*The longer platforms on the Uckfield Line are now all open and ready to accommodate longer trains, which are due to be introduced later this month.