Hastings landslip line reopens after three months

Landslip between Wadhurst and Battle in East Sussex Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption Landslips first closed a section of the line between Hastings and London in December

A railway line linking East Sussex, Kent and London has reopened fully for the first time this year after a series of landslips.

Train services to and from Hastings via Tunbridge Wells have been disrupted since the first closure on 23 December.

Southeastern and Network Rail thanked passengers for their patience during a "trying time".

The line reopened hours before a rail summit in Hastings calling for further improvements to London journey times.

The line, which connects Hastings to London Bridge and Charing Cross, was hit by seven landslips during the spell of heavy rain over the winter.

The reopening was originally set for 3 March but had to be delayed after repairs near Whatlington failed.

Conservative MP for Hastings and Rye, Amber Rudd, said it was a huge relief the line had reopened on Monday morning.

"It's not the fixing that has been so appalling for commuters but the communication," she said.

Image caption MP Amber Rudd has called the rail summit being held in Hastings

"To start with, Network Rail and Southeastern were making promises they couldn't keep."

Network Rail route managing director Fiona Taylor said it had faced a serious engineering challenge at Whatlington.

"It has taken a huge effort to get to this position," she said.

"This has been a really difficult time for passengers and I have been continually impressed by their patience and understanding."

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin is attending the rail summit, organised by Ms Rudd, along with Southeastern and Network Rail.

Local authorities and transport users groups are also represented.

Ms Rudd said improvements to the line between Hastings and Ashford in Kent, announced on Monday, were welcome.

But she said more improvements were needed to cut the journey time to the capital to 66 minutes.

She is calling for a Hastings Express train to run direct to Tunbridge Wells, and an extension of the high-speed line from Ashford.

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