Railway Closure between Exeter and Salisbury – 5-11 December 2023

Message from SW Railways

Earlier this week, we saw over 90mm of sustained heavy rain over a short period and this has resulted in our remote condition monitoring equipment detecting movement in the earth on the cutting above the tunnel entrance. We now need to take action to repair the slip site, and as a result, South Western Railway (SWR) services on the line will remain unable to run until Monday morning. We are therefore asking customers to not attempt to travel between Salisbury and Exeter until Monday 11 December.

Over the last 24 hours, our engineers have begun work using ropes to abseil down the cutting and start removing vegetation before beginning excavating debris. Between now and the line reopening, we will work around the clock to excavate several hundred tonnes of clay, soil and vegetation from around the tunnel entrance to help stabilise the cutting.

Engineers are initially excavating by hand, lowering the debris to the track via chutes before it is transported away on an engineering train. In addition, we will use a long reach excavator, situated on top of the tunnel, to help with the removal of the debris.

We’re really sorry for the disruption our customers are experiencing, and our teams are working around the clock to complete the work as quickly and as safely as possible.

As a reminder, our ongoing engineering work on the West of England line continues, and more information on what we’re doing while the railway is closed is available here.