Fringe Box



Complaints and Praise For Network Rail’s Extended Landslip Repairs at St Catherine’s Hill

Published on: 18 Apr, 2020
Updated on: 22 Apr, 2020

St Catherine’s Hill Work Continues April 18 2020

By Martin Giles

Residents near St Catherine’s Hill are complaining about the night-time noise from the round-the-clock rail work to reduce the risk of further line-closing landslips. One said on social media: “The noise has been keeping me up the last two nights. 🙁 ”

But the Network Rail Team has also been praised. Another affected neighbour added: “They’ve actually done an amazing job considering what they’ve had to do and manage. They should be commended.  I hope that gets mentioned rather than writing about the noise and upheaval.

“They’ve even suggested they would like to leave neighbours with something good and if there’s anything they can do to let them know. They suggested benches for us to have outside our houses or some gesture like that that they could offer for our understanding and consideration. 🙂 ”

Network Rail had said the work would finish by the end of March but in the latest of letters to residents it added: “You have previously been notified of works up until 1 May [but] this project will continue for longer. Further work is planned to stabilise a greater part of the cutting which will reduce the risk of future landslips at this location.

“Safety is our number one priority and for this reason some of the work must be carried out while the trains are not running. Unfortunately, this means carrying out some of our improvements during the night and at weekends.”

So The Dragon NEWS sent a few questions to Network Rail.

Who was consulted before the work commenced?

Before the [original] 10 days of improvement work started, we engaged with stakeholders to ensure they were informed about the project and the impact it would have for passengers, our lineside neighbours and local communities, including Surrey County Council who have been actively involved in all stages of the works.

Is all the work being carried out on land owned by Network Rail? Our understanding is that Network Rail has previously denied ownership of the hill.

The cutting is Network Rail land. The regrading of the embankment has widened the cutting, therefore the fence at the top will be reinstated in a slightly different position on the common land. Surrey County Council is fully aware of this and the Commons Act application mentioned below will be made.

Is it appreciated that St Catherine’s Hill is an iconic and historic site of importance, within AGLV if not AONB boundaries, as well as the St Catherine’s Conservation Area? The hill is also designated common land by GBC.

All these designations are understood. Regarding the common land, a Commons Act 2006: Section 38 application is being made retrospectively. This is the typical approach taken for emergency works and Surrey County Council have been fully aware and involved.

What is happening to the large amounts of sand spoil being removed?

We are awaiting confirmation that this will be recycled.

Why is night-time working necessary?

While we recognise that there’s never a good time to carry out work, and nobody likes noise and disruption, the feedback we received beforehand was supportive. Research shows people would prefer work to take place in one block rather than over consecutive weekends or different periods. We believe it would have taken many more weekends if the work could not be done in one block with night-time working as it has been. We do everything we can to try [to] mitigate the noise levels and keep residents informed about scheduled work.

Is the need for social distancing being stressed to workers?

Following recent Government advice that construction work, including work on the railway, should continue as long as safe procedures are followed, we are taking all necessary precautions to keep our colleagues safe. Marshals and security guards have also been brought in to enforce and monitor social distancing on-site alongside our construction managers.

We have implemented other measures across our worksites … for example, reducing shared transport unless colleagues can prove they live together, staggering shift times and briefings, introducing segregation at sign-in points and … new rules to prevent colleagues from congregating at work locations, in vehicles and in break rooms.

It is understood that the historic cave discovered above the southern entrance of the railway has been preserved. It contained what appear to be medieval religious carvings. Samples of soot found in the cave have been taken for carbon dating to help ascertain their age.

See also: Revealed: Markings Inside the Mystery Medieval Cave Found at St Catherine’s Hill and other linked stories here.



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Responses to Complaints and Praise For Network Rail’s Extended Landslip Repairs at St Catherine’s Hill

  1. Stuart Barnes Reply

    April 19, 2020 at 9:10 am

    The work has included the creation of a substantial access road on the hill.

    What will happen to that road when the work is completed?

    I trust that it will be put back to its previous green state.

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