Southeastern: Southern Gas 'too slow' over Kent gas leak

Southeastern passengers
Image caption Southeastern managing director Charles Horton said that patience was wearing thin

"Patience is wearing thin" after three days of disruption to train services caused by a gas leak under a railway line, a rail operator chief has said.

Gas started leaking in the Canterbury West area on Monday and Southern Gas Networks (SGN) began repairs. Buses have replaced some trains in the area.

Southeastern boss Charles Horton said his firm was disappointed it was taking so long to fix the problem.

SGN said it was a "complex engineering job" and apologised for the disruption.

Mr Horton, managing director of Southeastern, said: "Passengers have been without a train service between Ashford and Canterbury since Monday afternoon, patience is wearing thin and we want to get services back up and running again."

'Under railway'

Fiona Taylor, Network Rail's Kent route managing director, said safety remained top priority and railway services in the area could not resume until SGN said it was safe to run trains.

She said: "We are looking to Southern Gas Networks to put a clear timescale on the remaining works required and pull out all the stops to fully resolve the problem quickly."

Southeastern said services in the Ramsgate and Canterbury areas could be delayed, diverted or cancelled at short notice and advised passengers to check its live running information or national rail information before travelling.

An SGN spokeswoman said emergency engineers had been on-site working around the clock to repair the leak.

"Because of the complexity of the repair, the need for safety and the depth of the two gas pipes, engineers have cut off the flow of gas.

"They are using specialist equipment to remove all residual gas from the pipes. They are also taking continuous measurements of gas levels in the immediate vicinity of the railway line.

"In addition, local gas networks have been reconfigured to ensure gas supplies to local homes and businesses are maintained."

She added that it would be safe for railway services to resume once gas recordings were at a safe level.

"We would like to apologise for all inconvenience caused by our emergency work."

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