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Jason Kettle, of St Agnes Gardens, Sheerness, walked home for seven miles after rail tracks at Kemsley flooded

By Ellis Stephenson

A rail passenger has described how he was forced to get off a train and walk seven miles to get home after the line was flooded.

Jason Kettle, of St Agnes Gardens, Sheerness, who has Asperger syndrome, was one of those on board the 3.55pm Sheerness-bound service from Sittingbourne when it came to a halt outside Kemsley station at about 4pm on April 8.

It could not go any further because water from a burst main had poured onto the tracks. All trains were suspended.

The water gushing on the line last Monday. Picture: Jason Kettle
The water gushing on the line last Monday. Picture: Jason Kettle

The 27-year-old said: "I was on my way back home from doing some training at Bell House in Sittingbourne when the train stopped.

"I was shocked when I saw the water gushing on the tracks.

"I didn't even realise there was a water pipe right there.

"We had to get off and I walked home from Kemsley. It took me a little bit over two hours.

"All I wanted to do was get home."

They were led to safety by British Transport Police (BTP) officers.

Jason Kettle
Jason Kettle

Mr Kettle said he opted to walk home along the A249, over the Kingsferry Bridge and then to Sheerness via Brielle Way after being told the wait for a replacement bus could be up to an hour.

He added that a BTP official had said "you can walk".

Meanwhile, police were called and closed Grovehurst Road to traffic due to fears the road could collapse because of the leak.

It was not until the following morning that the road was reopened and trains started running again.

Temporary traffic lights were put in place while repairs to the water network continued.

Temporary traffic lights at Grovehurst Road, Kemsley
Temporary traffic lights at Grovehurst Road, Kemsley

A Southern Water spokesman said: "Following a burst under the railway bridge by Kemsley station, our teams have been working hard to make the necessary repairs as quickly and as safely as possible.

"This burst did not affect any customer's water supply.

"Traffic management has remained in place since Tuesday to enable us to reinstate the road, and we plan to remove this before the weekend.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank everyone for their patience as we carry out these repairs."

The firm brought in pumps in case water needed to be taken from the railway line but a spokesman added it drained naturally.

A Network Rail spokesman said: "We attended the incident at Kemsley station and tested the rails.

"Work was carried out due to fuses for the track circuit needing to be replaced, these help signallers to show the location of trains.

"The problem was fixed and a full service resumed on Tuesday morning."

Read more: All the latest news from Sittingbourne.

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