The East Grinstead line is expected to reopen on Monday 30 March after it was closed following Storm Ciara on 12 February.
The embankment, near Cookspond Viaduct in Surrey, started to slide after being hit by the heavy rains and winds of storm Ciara. Built in Victoria times, it simply didn’t meet modern standards and needed extensive work to make it safe.
Since then, no fewer than five further sites have suffered landslips on the route and Network Rail has been working with BAM Nuttall to repair the line.
The repairs are almost complete and testing will continue over the weekend.
Network Rail Southern Region’s managing director, John Halsall, said: “We are on course to return this railway to use on Monday, at an absolutely crucial time, with key workers relying on us to get to their jobs.
“However, I can’t be as confident as I would like to be simply because we are seeing increasing numbers of our colleagues having to leave work to self-isolate and we don’t know what those numbers will be and who will be affected over the next two days.
“So, my message to passengers is, firstly, please only travel if you absolutely have to, and then secondly please check before you travel on Monday. It’s been an incredible effort by everyone who has worked on the project to get so far so fast and I am so proud of their work, but we have to be realistic and admit the challenge we face.”
Steve White, Chief Operating Officer at GTR, which runs Thameslink and Southern services, said: “Our important message to everyone during this national emergency remains not to travel unless absolutely essential but for those key workers and people who have no choice, the completion of this work will be good news reducing your travel time.
“We would like to thank customers for their patience during this essential work. Network Rail really has pulled out all the stops to repair the landslips in this area and I applaud them for their efforts on behalf of the community and the railway.”