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St Catherine’s Hill Tunnel Work Now Expected to End in November

Published on: 25 Jul, 2020
Updated on: 28 Jul, 2020

Network Rail work site St Catherine’s Hill

Network Rail engineers are continuing to strengthen the slope close to St Catherine’s tunnel in Guildford after last December’s landslip, with work now expected to last until November (2020). Geotechnical experts said last autumn’s heavy rain had caused the damage.

The railway is cut deep into the hillside and the slope is being secured by insertion of steel rods, reinforced by cement.

The cutting face has also been covered with protective netting to prevent more sand falling on the track. The area will also be reseeded to promote regrowth of vegetation.

Protective netting over the re-graded slope above the southern entrance to St Catherine’s Hill railway tunnel.

Mark Killick, route director for Network Rail Wessex, said: “I want to say sorry to local residents for the disruption. This has been a complex job, and the team has worked incredibly hard in challenging circumstances. We will try to keep disruption to a minimum.”

Earlier completion dates had been set in May and June. As well as weekend work on some Saturday nights, people nearby have been warned of work by noisy machinery.

During the weekend of 15/16 August, there will be a limited train service from Guildford so engineers can extend the walls at the tunnel portal to provide additional stability while trains aren’t running.

Reports that the work was affecting water clarity have re-emerged this weekend as a nearby resident said his fishpond, which had cleared following a period of sandy discolouration, was once again affected.

Discoloured garden fishpond near St Catherine’s Hill as it appeared on July 6.

An analysis organised by Network Rail found that water from the springs, that had been reported affected, was fit for drinking and found no evidence of a connection with the work on St Catherine’s Hill.

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