Network Rail had agreed with Govia Thameslink Railway, which operates Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express services, to close the lines between Three Bridges and Brighton and Three Bridges and Lewes for two nine-day periods coinciding with the October 2018 and February 2019 school half-terms, in addition to a number of weekend closures.
The improvement work – part of a £300m government-funded improvement programme to boost reliability for passengers on the Brighton Main Line and other key routes in the South East – will now be carried out in just one nine-day closure from 16-24 February 2019, subject to the rail industry’s usual assurance reviews. The supporting 15 weekend closures between September 2018 and May 2019 will go ahead unchanged. Some elements of the work as originally planned will now be deferred until the next five-year funding period, starting in April 2019.
Network Rail has taken the decision to revise the main body of work in consultation with the Department for Transport and Govia Thameslink Railway. Passengers now have more time to plan ahead before the weekday closures in February next year, while allowing the rail industry to focus its immediate efforts on embedding the interim timetable from this Sunday, 15 July and delivering a more dependable service.
During the line closures, no trains will run between Three Bridges and Brighton or between Three Bridges and Lewes. Rail replacement buses will be in operation, as well as diverted train service between London and Brighton via Littlehampton. Passengers should allow considerably more time for their journeys during these periods. While we understand these revisions to the plan will incur disruption to stakeholders and customers, we believe it will enable sufficient time to work with our partners, GTR, to deliver a robust alternative travel plan and ticketing arrangements.
The programme of works will involve:
- Stemming leaks into the tunnels and improving drainage
- Upgrading or replacing the third rail power system and signalling
- Replacing track and sets of points, which enable trains to switch between tracks
- Replacing fencing and improving security to deter trespassers.
It will improve reliability on the Brighton Mainline significantly reducing delays for passengers travelling between London and the south coast.
We look forward to continued engagement with you to ensure that your business, employees and customers can plan ahead. We remain committed to making you fully aware of the impact on journeys and alternative transport arrangements as they are confirmed to us.
We appreciate your support and welcome your input as the project progresses.
Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Brighton Mainline Improvement Project