Published: 09:16, 08 October 2019
| Updated: 21:26, 08 October 2019
Buses will continue to replace trains tomorrow after a gas leak forced a bridge to close.
It has remained closed today and despite originally stating it would be back running by late afternoon Southeastern pushed the time back twice and haven now said it will shut tomorrow too.
It means traffic has to be diverted over the Sheppey Crossing, trains are suspended and replaced by buses which do not call at the Swale stop, near the bridge.
Southeastern said it had to close the route from about 5pm "due to the potential arching and sparking" of the railway.
The train firm reassured passengers that buses would replace trains between Sheerness and Sittingbourne until the work was completed, adding between five and 10 minutes to people's journeys.
The road is closed to traffic heading on the Island from the Kingsferry roundabout.
This morning, Southeastern said disruption could last until about 5pm today, while an SGN spokesman said it could not say how long the work will take.
In a tweet it said more "excavation work" needed to be carried out.
But at 8.45pm today, the rail firm said repairs are taking longer than expected. It said the line will remain closed for the rest of the day and buses will continue to operate today and tomorrrow.
An additional bus was drafted in following reports of delays from passengers and staff.
Those who cannot use the Sheppey Crossing, including pedestrians and cyclists, will be ushered by a gate steward when it is safe for them to pass.
A Southeastern spokesman said: "Our priority is to get passengers to work and back home, but due to a gas leak near the railway between Sheerness-on-Sea and Sittingbourne all lines will be cancelled on this route whilst the leak is repaired.
"National Grid gas engineers continue to work throughout the night to carry out repairs, but due to the proximity of the leak to the railway, the line will remain closed until the end of Wednesday.
“We’re informing passengers that there are replacement bus services, but, unfortunately the road around Swale is closed to allow the work to take place, therefore no buses will be able to stop there.All other stations will be served by the buses.
"We are very sorry for the inconvenience this has caused and we strongly advise passengers to allow extra time for their journeys, and to check before they travel using the Southeastern website, National Rail Enquiries or follow @Se_Railway for live Twitter updates using #Swale.”
More by this authorEllis Stephenson