Commuters delayed as landslide blocks rail line

Thousands of commuters have suffered severe delays after a major landslide blocked lines on a key railway line.

Thousands of commuters have suffered severe delays after a major landslide blocked lines on a key railway line.

The landslide was between Balcombe and Three Bridges in West Sussex and meant no through trains could run on the London to Brighton line.

Connex South Central, Thameslink and Virgin CrossCountry services have all been badly affected.

Connex and Thameslink are running train shuttle services between Brighton and Haywards Heath and buses between Haywards Heath and Three Bridges.

In addition, Connex is diverting London-bound services from Brighton via Horsham or Dorking.

Railtrack says it hopes to have the line between Haywards Heath and Three Bridges cleared so evening rush-hour trains can operate.

Speed restrictions are still in place because of last week's landslide at Redhill in Surrey. There was also a landslide recently at Salfords in Surrey and another at Ashurst in West Sussex.

Railtrack have blamed the landslides on the severe wet weather.

A Railtrack spokesman said: "Engineers at today's slip say the ground is absolutely saturated. None of the landslides has anything to do with the earth moving as a result of any tree-cutting programmes we have carried out.

"We have stepped up patrols to look out for tell-tale signs of possible future earth movements such as trees beginning to lean over. We have also been checking sites where there have been previous landslides, but all the recent incidents have been at places which have not experienced falls before."

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