PASSENGERS will tomorrow return to a Hampshire railway line out of action for more than a month since the country's largest land slip.

Network Rail has announced that the line between Eastleigh and Fareham, which trains have not run on since February 1, is to re-open.

Commuters have faced bus replacement journeys, as Network Rail battled to get the line fixed.

But a full service is planned to start running from 8am tomorrow after Network hands the line back to train operators at 5am.

Contractors have another eight weeks of work ahead to ensure further landslides do not happen on the mile stretch of track, but this should not affect the line.The 80m bankslip was one of three to happen on the track near Botley following five months worth of rain in December and January.

Since then a team of more than 100 engineers from the Network Rail-South West Trains Alliance and contractor Osborne have worked round the clock for almost six weeks to get the railway back up and running.

Tim Shoveller, Managing Director for the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance, said: “We would like to thank our customers for their continued patience whilst these major repair works have taken place.

“We have worked hard to try and minimise the disruption for passengers and have provided regular bus services to keep people on the move, but nonetheless, we know that some passengers will have experienced changes to their journeys with us and we can only apologise for that.

“Despite some very challenging conditions, our engineers have done a great job of re-building the railway around Botley in just a few weeks, which is testament to their hard work and commitment. “We are pleased to be able to fully re-open the line from Saturday morning and re-instate our normal service for passengers.”