Published: 15:00, 04 April 2016
| Updated: 15:29, 04 April 2016
The damaged stretch of railway between Dover and Folkestone will re-open in mid-December with the £44.5 million project needing a full re-build.
The repairs come after adverse weather saw the sea wall collapse on Christmas Eve and the line was forced to close.
A new viaduct will need to be built before trains can run again due to rotting of the wooden viaduct that was placed there in the 1800s.
The announcement that it will re-open will be a relief for commuters but will come almost exactly a year after it was first closed.
Network Rail’s route managing director, Alasdair Coates said: “We hope to have trains running again in December.
"As with all projects of this scale, and this kind of exposed location we will face challenges with the weather and the ground we are working on, but I am confident this is the right plan and one that will give us a strong railway, years into the future.
“We are doing everything we can and we would like to thank passengers for their patience and understanding.
“Network Rail is doing absolutely everything to get the railway line open.”
It is expected that the infrastructure being put in place now will last another 120 years.
MP for Dover, Charlie Elphicke, said: “I completely understand concerns from Dover and Deal rail users who are frustrated that it will take such a long time.
“We need to make sure this job is done properly, with an investment of £44 million, this is a considerable spend by Network Rail and a substantial commitment by the government and we will have a more resilient railway line.
“This railway line can’t be abandoned, first for commuters and for the A20, we would be losing a major part of the massive infrastructure.
“It’s the right thing to do for Dover, Deal and the nation.”
Work has been on-going to protect the existing structure and cliffs with preliminary construction on the 235 metre long and 13 metres wide, viaduct that started last week.
This will be supported by 134 piles or concrete columns sunk into the beach. This consists of boring holes, and encasing cylindrical cages with concrete. The line will also be protected by rock armour.
The design of the viaduct will remain the same but using modern materials, with concrete slabs going in sections over the top.
David Statham, Southeastern managing director said: “We know it’s been really difficult for people since the failure of the sea wall. We have been working really hard to keep people moving.”
This has included offering compensation, suspending high speed fares and providing special high speed train services, with rail replacement services for Deal, Walmer, Martin Mill and Sandwich, and free parking at Folkestone.
As well as re-building the railway, the job is to also protect the 750 metre sea wall which was constructed in 1927.
More than 90,000 tonnes of rock, the same weight as two modern cross-Channel ferries will protect it.
Work on the beach has now halted until a licence to continue is gained from the Marine Management Organisation.
In the meantime, the concrete columns are now being built, with the first of 2,000 lorries over the course of the next eight months arriving today.