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Croydon railway mudslide clear-up underway

Two of the five railway lines affected by a mudslide yesterday near South Croydon re-opened yesterday evening, while engineers continued working through the night to remove 2,400t of debris and repair a burst water main.

Network Rail said it had achieved its goal of re-opening two of the lines on Monday evening, meaning a partial train service could resume.

The full five lines are expected to be operational again tomorrow, after a ruptured water main close to South Croydon station caused significant flooding that resulted in the mudslide on Monday.

Thames Water said work to repair the main will be completed today, after engineers worked through the night. The cause of the burst is not yet known.

The mudslide covered four of the five lines of the Brighton Main Line in mud and silt to well above the rails, including the third rail.

A Network Rail spokesman said that although thousands of tons of debris have been cleared so far, more work remained to clear mud and stabilise the embankment. “We have still got work to do and hopefully we will have a full service tomorrow,” he said.

Thames Water said the water main affected was a 305mm diameter cast iron pipe, buried 4.5m below ground at a distance of 150m from the railway track.

The main was shut off within two hours of the bursting, and water supplies to 15,000 customers served by the main were not disrupted.

A Network Rail spokesperson said services on Thameslink service from Bedford to Brighton, Southern service from London Victoria to Brighton and Gatwick Express from London Victoria were the affected routes.

“This is causing severe disruption to rail services between London, Gatwick Airport and Brighton,” he said.

“Thames Water have shut off the water main and the flow of water onto the railway has stopped. Our focus is now on removing the significant amount of debris which has been washed onto the tracks and to get trains running as soon as is safe.”

Readers' comments (5)

  • lanslip?

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  • Why there is no mention of the East Grinstead Line that is not operating at all.

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  • "while engineers continued working through the night to remove 2,400t of debris" Week after week we bemoan the status of the engineering profession, and is it surprising when the weekley publication of our institution doesn’t know what an engineer does? Please tell me NCE why I spent of four years at university and 6 years post graduate experience to shovel muck off of a railway line. Machine Drivers are not engineers neither are trackmen, COSS’s or signallers. Not every job in construction is an engineers job!

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  • As the article says that the main was shut off within two hours of bursting, I presume that it was over an hour before it was turned off. Why? Ignoring the devastating effect the burst had on a critical transport link and the potential for loss of life if the landslip had occurred when trains were passing, surely the amount of water that could be lost from a 305-mm diameter main in over an hour merits better monitoring and a faster response.

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  • Ageing infrastructure. Cast iron Gas and Water laid over 100yrs ago
    are very vulnerable. From 150m away it must have been "leaking" for some time.

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