Hildenborough Drain: How to kick the can on the railways

Hildenborough Station Drain, leaking sewage Back in April at our Hildenborough membership recruitment drive event, a concerned member told us about a leaking drain in the car park. He had reported it to Southeastern but no action had been taken. We investigated and found that the drain was leaking raw sewage across the car park. This is clearly a health concern with both tyres and feet passing through sewage and spreading it far and wide.

Southeastern was slow in its response and seemed to pass the buck entirely to its contractor (considering the matter closed). At our AGM the following month, with no resolution in sight, we pressed the issue with Southeastern’s representative. We got a meek response of “everything takes longer on the railways”, which we found underwhelming to say the least.

Finally, the issue seemed to be resolved, with Southeastern proudly tweeting a picture of a truck pumping sewage from the drain.

Surely, the contractors would have treated the cause and not just the symptoms? If not, then surely, they’d at least identify the root cause of the problem, rather than papering over the cracks?

Alas, it was not to be. We soon received another report of raw sewage streaming from the drain. We duly reported this to Southeastern and they referred this to their facilities team.

Lo and behold, the issue has now been identified as an underground drainage problem and thus it is Network Rail’s responsibility to solve it. It seems that rainwater is discharging into a cesspit and that is causing the drain to overflow. Southeastern assures us that Network Rail is ‘constantly’ pumping sewage water from the drain to prevent the problem building up, whilst a more permanent solution is found.

The current thinking on the more permanent solution is the installation of a new system. You don’t need to be much of a cynic to anticipate some lengthy discussions about who bears the cost and whether it needs to happen in this accounting period.

Conversely, there was recently a water leak on my road in Hildenborough. I reported it at about midday and by 8pm it had been fixed and tidied up. But, as we know, everything takes longer on the railways.

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