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Hole new source of misery for Southern rail passengers

A hole under a railway track has caused travel misery for commuters for the second time in less than three weeks.

Lines running into London Bridge station were closed "as a safety measure" and services cancelled after the discovery of the hole in Forest Hill in the south-east of the capital.

Rail operator Southern warned customers that it expected disruption in the area until 6pm on Thursday.

It comes after a 13ft (4m) subsidence hole opened up over a sewer in Forest Hill on July 18, also shutting down lines into London Bridge and causing major delays.

Network Rail said Thursday's hole was at the site of the previous one, which had been filled in.

Robert Coulson, NR's acting area director, said: "Our engineers have been monitoring the site of the previous hole under the railway at Forest Hill since that incident occurred in mid-July.

"We spotted a small hole at 3am today and closed the two lines above it to trains.

"This new hole is about just over half a metre deep and we are working to open it out to investigate the scale of repairs we need to make today.

"Our aim is to get the railway open to trains today; however, we won't know for certain until we have completed our investigations."

The hole saw Southern services towards London Bridge unable to stop at Norwood Junction, Anerley, Penge West, Sydenham, Forest Hill, Honor Oak Park, Brockley and New Cross Gate. London Overground services were also affected between New Cross Gate and Crystal Palace/West Croydon.

Thameslink trains from Brighton into London were only able to run as far as Gatwick Airport.

A Southern spokesman said: "Some services have been cancelled. Others may be delayed or diverted away from London Bridge. Disruption is expected until 6pm."

One frustrated local said the hole seemed to have been on the same stretch of track as the one that caused disruption two weeks earlier.

Fiona Gillies, 38, tweeted a picture from her flat which overlooks the line, and said she was woken up just after 1.30am by a "crew of four men with drills".

Ms Gillies, a speech and language therapist, said: "There has been constant smelly sewage works going on for the past two weeks either side of Forest Hill station.

"What with the engineering works on the Overground and now the sinkhole issue again, it makes for a stressful commute."


From Belfast Telegraph