Network Rail has announced its plans to close the Bexleyheath railway line between Kidbrooke and Barnehurst during the February half term next year to undertake major engineering work.

This announcement is intended to safeguard passengers from the disruption caused by landslips.

Following four landslips in the past ten years, with the most recent in February, Network Rail decided to block the line for seven days. It is investing £6.6m to offer a safe solution on this section of the railway for the next 120 years.

The major work involves the removal of 2,500t of mud and trees to lessen the steepness of the slopes.

Around 8,000t of material, such as gravel and concrete, will be brought in to build retaining walls along the 650m stretch on both sides.

The walls will be made from steel beams, which will be buried 6m under the ground, and then finished with large concrete blocks. This step will stop any future landslips from impacting the tracks.

Network Rail and Southeastern will also carry out other infrastructure improvements and essential maintenance at the affected stations.

Network Rail programme director Dan Athol said: “The risk of another landslip on the line is very high and we need to take action as soon as possible.

“We know it’s never a good time to close the railway, but a longer nine-day blockade during the half term when it’s typically quieter means we can minimise disruption to passengers.

“The alternative would be many weekend closures over a two-year period, which is not only slow and inefficient but prolongs the risk of landslips and unplanned disruption to passengers.

Network Rail is investing around £1.25bn ($1.5bn) in Kent and South East London in the next five years to replace signalling, tracks, structures, embankments, stations and depots.