Dover sea wall damage to cause rail passengers 'incredible disruption'

Trackside damage at Dover Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption Sinkholes up to three meters deep have appeared along the track, Network Rail says

"Incredible disruption" is on the cards for rail passengers as a result of damage to a sea wall that shut a major coastal route, according to an MP.

Southeastern services were stopped between Folkestone and Dover Priory on 24 December after huge cracks appeared.

Repair work will take a "significant amount of time", Southeastern warned.

MP for Dover and Deal Charlie Elphicke said: "I've contacted the rail minster to express my grave concerns that we shouldn't just have a collapse."

The Conservative MP added: "I've asked Network Rail to let me have their inspection reports and maintenance history on this sea wall. It seems to me this should not have happened."

Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption Cracks appeared in the sea wall on Christmas Eve

Network Rail said: "High tides damaged the sea wall that supports the railway near Dover Harbour.

"The wall has deteriorated further with severe damage to a number of sections, and there are a number of sinkholes two or three metres deep along the length of the wall.

"Major work will need to be carried out to repair the track and the sea wall will also need to be rebuilt."

Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption Southeastern said the line would remain closed "until further notice"

A bus replacement service is running between Dover Priory and Folkestone Central while repairs take place.

Mr Elphicke said he wanted services to be rerouted for those travelling from Dover.

"I think it's really important there is compensation for season tickets, but what is more important is for them to know what the situation is going to be when they go back to work after the holidays," he said.

A spokesman for Southeastern said: "Network Rail have encountered a great deal of damage and the repair works will take a significant amount of time."

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