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Key Kent commuter lines to be closed for signal upgrade

A KEY section of the commuter network from Kent is to be closed from later this month so that signalling can be upgraded.

Network Rail said Hither Green, Lee, Mottingham, New Eltham, Grove Park, Sundridge Park, Bromley North, Elmstead Woods and Chislehurst stations will all be closed for nine days from 25 July to allow a new £81 million signalling system to be installed, replacing equipment which is more than 40 years old. Trains from Ashford, Tonbridge, Hastings and Tunbridge Wells will take different routes into London, and some will be diverted to London Victoria.

Kent route director Fiona Taylor said: ‘The current signalling system, which controls the movement of trains on the lines through Hither Green has been in place since the 1970s. It’s old, unreliable, and becoming more difficult to source spare parts and maintain. If we don’t upgrade now, it could lead to major delays and crowding for Southeastern passengers in future. That’s a risk we weren’t prepared to take.’

Southeastern warned that its trains will be very busy during the work and that journeys could take longer, especially when they involve replacement buses, and asked passengers not to travel if possible.

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