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Emergency Railway repair in Woking Area

By Belinda Baker, Parish Clerk Headbourne Worthy Parish Council

Sunday, 3 December 2023


Headbourne Worthy Parish Council Contributor


Network Rail and SWR are writing to let you know that emergency work to repair a landslip will significantly reduce services between Woking and Basingstoke next week.

Network Rail and SWR are urging passengers who are planning to travel on the line between Woking and Basingstoke to only travel if absolutely necessary.

Network Rail's remote condition monitoring equipment has detected movement in a 100-metre-long slope next to the St John’s Hill Road overbridge between Brookwood and Woking in Surrey, and our geotechnical and structural experts have discovered cracks which are up to 45m long, 50cm wide and a metre deep in some places.

To keep customers safe before the work begins, Network Rail have introduced a 20mph speed restriction to enable services to keep running through this area. Working closely with South Western Railway, Network Rail has taken the decision to close part of the railway next week to stabilise the cutting and prevent a more disruptive and potentially dangerous landslip, with forecast cold and wet weather making this highly likely if action isn’t taken.

This weekend we will begin preparing the worksite, bringing in specialist equipment and machinery to begin installing a metal wall on Monday morning. Following this, on Wednesday 6, Friday 8, Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December, a team of engineers will begin working tirelessly around the clock to install a total of 170 sheet piles – 10-metre-long sheets of metal driven into the ground – at the base of the slope.

Each pile takes around an hour to install and the wall will prevent any material slipping onto the tracks. Other sections of the cutting in the area have also been identified as needing stabilisation and further work will be required to address this in the future.

While the work is taking place, this stretch of railway will reduced from four tracks to two and trains travelling through this area will need to be manually signalled through by Network Rail engineers using red and green ‘hand signals' – similar to traffic control during some roadworks – further reducing the number of services that are able to run.

Train service overview

  • On Wednesday 6 December, a reduced number of services were due to run in this area due to planned ASLEF strike action, and will be unaffected by the works.
  • On Thursday 7 December, SWR’s full service will be impacted by the ASLEF overtime ban. More information can be found at
  • From Friday 8 to Sunday 10 December, a severely reduced service will operate on the mainline between Basingstoke and Woking, impacting the routes to Exeter, Salisbury, Southampton, Bournemouth and Weybridge.
  • From Friday 8 to Sunday 10 December, trains FROM London Waterloo will not be able to serve Brookwood. A rail replacement bus service will operate from Woking to Brookwood.

Customers are urged to check and journey planners will be up to date on Sunday 3 December.

Network Rail and SWR know there is never a good time to close any part of the railway but the safety of our customers and railway colleagues is our number one priority. Our teams will be working extremely hard to stabilise the embankment as quickly and safely as possible so we can get customers moving again and prevent any future landslips.

Network Rail and SWR are very sorry for the disruption this work will cause.

If they can be of any further assistance, or if you have any questions, please do get in touch with your usual contacts at Network Rail and South Western Railway.

Contact Information

Belinda Baker, Parish Clerk

  • 07770 406607

Find Headbourne Worthy Parish Council

Headbourne Worthy, Winchester, Hampshire