ROMSEY commuters could face two months of travel disruption after a landslide blocked a railway line this week.

South Western Railway announced the landslip, which occurred on the train route between Romsey and Salisbury, caused "significant damage to the embankment".

Now the railway company has said "substantial repair work" is needed to get train services back on track, which is expected to take "up to two months".

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Romsey town centre manager, Mark Edgerley, said: "I am not surprised this has happened because I have seen pictures of the location and it is going to be difficult to get to, as they will have to take one of the lines out and rebuild it.

"It is going to be a major inconvenience and with all the wet weather we have had it is a natural occurrence.

"That railway line is an important passenger route and it is a strategic freight train route, so Network Rail will want that line open as soon as possible."

He added: "I know that route includes Dean and Dunbridge and there are a lot of school children who come into Romsey using those routes, so it will impact them, as well as a lot of people going into work from Southampton.

"It will be an inconvenience more so for the villages, as we have buses going to Southampton, but if you are living in the rural community you have to use a car."

Cllr Mark Cooper, who represents Romsey Tadburn on Test Valley Borough Council, said: "It is important because the route connects with the main west coast area and I would have thought closing a railway line down for two months is a long time.

"I would hope Network Rail would find the resources to open both tracks in a lot less than two months."

It is believed a "flooded field" next to the line may have caused the ground below the track to move, according to a tweet from Network Rail Wessex.

One line reopened at 10am on Wednesday, February 19, to allow Great Western Railway to run one train an hour in each direction between Salisbury and Southampton Central; this lasted until 7pm.

South Western Rail added they have arranged replacement buses running between Romsey and Southampton, which will go in both directions via Chandler's Ford and Eastleigh.

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Buses will also run from Salisbury to Southampton in both directions via Redbridge and Millbrook.

A spokesperson from South Western Railway said: "We are very sorry for the disruption this landslip is causing, our colleagues at Network Rail are working hard to re-open the line.

“GWR are now able to run an hourly service between Salisbury and Southampton and we have replacement buses to keep passengers moving between other affected stations.

“Our train planners are working hard with their Network Rail counterparts to see if they can introduce a service between at Southampton, Eastleigh,  Chandler’s Ford and Romsey in both directions.”

Network Rail has been contacted for comment.

The landslide happened on Tuesday, February 18.