THE Eastleigh to Fareham railway line is set to close for nine days.

As part of works to improve tracks and protect vulnerable earthworks, Network Rail has announced the closure of the stretch of track between Saturday, June 25, to Sunday, July 4.

There will be no trains on the line between those dates, with a bus service and diversions in place.

The stretch of railway has been described as "vulnerable" and engineers will be shoring the area up.

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They will also carry out 42 other jobs to improve passengers’ journeys on the route.

The steep-sided cutting leading to Fareham Tunnel was built in 1841 and needs major work to improve it.

A previous landslip on the line, at Botley in 2014, saw services suspended for over a month.

Network Rail’s route director for Wessex, Mark Killick, said: “While I appreciate that it’s going to mean longer journeys and some disruption for that period, it will also mean a safer and more reliable railway – and one that’s open for business as much as possible.

"I would ask customers to plan their journeys that week so they don’t get caught out by the changes as we’ve worked hard to provide diversions and buses to keep people moving.”

During the nine-day closure engineers will install retaining walls and make the slope of the cutting less steep, among a package of maintenance and improvements on the route.

Network Rail colleagues will be removing rail defects; maintaining track and power supplies to keep trains moving on time; clearing litter and graffiti from Cosham and Fareham stations, working on points so that they can keep working in cold temperatures; inspecting and improving drainage so that track can cope better during extreme weather; and replacing sidings in Eastleigh yard used by freight and engineering trains working across the region’s railways.

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