extracted and adapted from

The Illustrated London News

This landslip took place on Thursday  20th October. The following details have been collected by the artist of the accompanying sketch: - the land adjoining Binham's Woods, near Kemp’s Farm has been for some time giving signs of yielding, and the heavy rain completed the destruction of a natural foundation. At 8 o’clock on Thursday morning. Mr Fletcher one of the contractors for the Permanent Way was in the train from Brighton to London when feeling a jolt in the carriage and looked out and saw that both lines had sunk more than six inches. Guessing that the landslip he desire the engine driver to stop, which he feared to do as an express train was close behind, accordingly he drove on to Three Bridges station. 

As so as Mr. Fletcher reached Three Bridges station he took the pilot engine back at a rate of 60 m.ph. Two other trains were allowed to prevent the express train crossing, but was too late, the engine driver having seen the slip and passed over the line safely, at the rate of a mile per hour. Two other trains were allowed to pass over. Mr. Fletcher and three other men having shored up the lines as best as they could, now to imminent to permit this to continue. Before evening 100 men were on the spot; and, the whole mass of earth continuing to defend, prompt measures were immediately taken to secure one of the lines for traffic, that next Binham’s wood being useless. By means of shoring up the opposite side, and shifting the rails that line is now tolerably secure, the trains passing over it very slowly. The full extent of the slip proved to be a sinking of 70,000 cubic yards of chalk, along 200 yards of the line, into the valley wherein stands Binham’s Wood. Here it carried some large oak trees in a vertical position, ten yards from where they originally stood, and moving the wood en-masse - earth, trees and underwood - down towards a considerable brook which takes it’s course through Binham’s Wood.This large tract of land moved three or four foot in a day, and ,fearing that it would inevitably stop up the brook, it was deemed advisable to cut a new course, about 200 yards long - a task of considerable  difficulty, on account of the timber, and spreading of the roots. On Thursday evening week 150 trains on either side of the slip were stopped, and the passengers had to cross by means of naphtha lights and fire pans or, as they are technically termed, “ evils” the space was brilliantly lighted up. Great praise is due to Mr. Fletcher for his careful  and admirable arrangements, and his unwearied exertions to secure, not only the safety, but, as far as possible, the convenience and comfort of the passengers. The line had been rendered secure for traffic, some further time most, however, elapse before this one of the most extensive railway land slips on record, will have been fully repaired.

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