Transport Minister visits Botley railway landslip site

Osborne and Network Rail have started work to completely rebuild 80m of railway at the largest of three landslips in Botley.

More than two kilometres of new road has had to be built to access the sites and more than 1,000 lorry movements will be needed to transport 20,000 tons of new material. A team of 100 engineers from Osborne and Network Rail are working round the clock towards getting trains running again in mid-March.

Stephen Hammond at Botley

Rail minister Stephen Hammond visited the team on site to see the scale of the damage. He said, “The work Network Rail has been carrying out to reopen the line around Botley by mid-March has been impressive. They undertook a massive engineering task just to prepare the site before they could start dealing with three separate landslips along one mile of track.”

Commercial director for the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance, Sam McCarthy, explained, “This is a huge project and we were pleased to be able to provide the transport minister with an opportunity to see first-hand some of the extensive work being completed by our engineering teams.”

“We are very proud of the work being done to restore this vital link for passengers. There is still a lot to do before we can resume our services, but with work progressing well and on schedule, we expect to be able to reopen the line by mid March.”

The largest slip site near Botley saw an 80m long and 15m high length of embankment fail. When it was originally constructed in the 1840s, engineers built the earthworks out of any material that could be found locally, which was a mixture of clay, sand and silt. Persistent heavy rainfall during the wettest winter in 250 years has caused the embankment to sink. It is now being completely dug out and replaced with new material, supported by a 100m wall of sheet piles which have been fixed into the ground along both sides and tied together with steel rods.

The aim is to return the line, which links Fareham with Eastleigh, to full use by mid-March.