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Southeastern pays out record £1.5m compensation after passengers suffer Hastings to Tonbridge landslip

By KentOnline reporter

Train operator Southeastern has paid its customers £1.5m in compensation - after the worst wet weather in 250 years caused a major landslip.

The sum - 10 times that paid out in the same period last year - was largely due to the closure of part of the Hastings to Tonbridge line following a major landslip.

Landslips at Stonegate, Whatlington and Battle caused disruption for Kent passengers, with buses replacing trains on a section of the route between Wadhurst and Battle.

Scene of the landslide at Stonegate causing train problems. Picture: Southeastern

Network Rail used 10,000 tons of stone to repair the damage, with services returning to normal in March.

The £1.5m figure covers just the first three months of this year, and is a record level of payouts for the network under the 'delay repay' scheme - with additional cash paid out to the worst-affected passengers.

Michelle Ulyatt, customer relations manager at Southeastern, said the level of compensation represented how seriously the firm had taken the disruption caused.

One of several landslips during bad weather that delayed Southeastern trains
The track was left unstable at Stonegate after the landslide. Picture: Southeastern

She added: "It was a three-month period where people were getting on replacement bus services.

"Obviously, one of the key learning points for us... is making sure we communicate better with our passengers" - Michelle Ulyatt

"So, in recognition of that we thought it was the right thing to do to make the highest levels of compensatory payouts to customers."

She said the firm had been working hard with Network Rail to come up with a plan to ensure services were restored to previous levels as much as possible.

She added: "Obviously, one of the key learning points for us, as well as learning from the incidents, is making sure we communicate better with our passengers when things like this happen."

Southeastern has referred Network Rail to the Office of Rail Regulation - the body that governs the rail network.

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