What is the Brighton Main Line Improvement Project? open

Part of a £300 million government-funded programme to tackle delay hotspots and boost the reliability of the railway in the south east, including the expanded Thameslink network. The Brighton Main Line is a key rail route, connecting Gatwick Airport and the south coast with London, and is used by 300,000 people each day. The section of the rail network targeted is responsible for more delays to Southern and Thameslink services than any other. Without this programme of activity, reliability will get worse over time and lead to even more delays.

What work is going to be carried out? open

The improvement work will focus on three Victorian-era tunnels – Balcombe, Clayton, Patcham and Haywards Heath – and the railway which runs through them. A major programme to stem leaks into the tunnels and provide reliable drainage away from the tracks will take place, while the track, third rail power system and signalling will all be replaced or upgraded. Elsewhere, track will be renewed, sets of points, which enable trains to switch between tracks, will be replaced and fencing will be improved to deter trespassers.

Why is this happening? open

Without this programme of work, reliability on the Brighton Main Line will deteriorate in the months and years ahead, leading to more delays for passengers travelling between London and the south coast. The closures will allow Network Rail engineers to renew and upgrade this stretch of railway.

Why did you choose these dates? open

The closure has been carefully planned for the February half-term (16 – 24), when passenger numbers are lower and some people may be able to be more flexible with their travel plans or take holiday.

What are you changing about the scheduling? open

The improvement project - part of a £300 million government 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 using just one nine day closure from 16 – 24 February 2019. The supporting weekend closures from September 2018 and May 2019 remain as planned.

Why did you change the dates you are carrying out the works on? open

Network Rail has taken the decision to revise the main body of work in consultation with the Department for Transport and Govia Thameslink Railway to allow passengers more time to plan ahead before any weekday closures, originally planned for October, occur. It also allows the rail industry to focus its immediate efforts on embedding the interim timetable, which began on Sunday, 15 July and delivering a more dependable service.

Will the work be completed on time? open

We’ll have hundreds of people working round-the-clock for nine days to complete the planned work safely and on time.

How will these planned closures affect me? open

It depends what journey you normally make, but the likelihood is that you will have a longer journey than normal and you may need to use an alternative route or form of transport.

What alternatives will you be putting on? open

We’ll be providing a range of alternative rail and bus options as well as additional parking facilities for those who prefer to drive to an alternative station.

How much longer will my journey take? open

It depends what journey you normally make but it could be much longer than usual. Detailed timetables will be available nearer the time.

How can I find out about alternative routes? open

Alternative routes are still being finalised but, nearer the time, this website will include full details of options for all affected stations. This will be through the Travel Advice section.

I have a season ticket. Can I use it travel on alternative routes / with other train operators? open

Yes, we’ll be providing a range of alternative rail and bus options with ticket validity. Sign up for travel alerts and we’ll let you know when this information is available.

What compensation will I receive? open

Compensation for Southern / Thameslink / Gatwick Express season ticket holders is not available for the days affected by line closures. This is because passengers will be provided with alternatives to complete their journeys, including rail replacement bus/coach services or diverted trains.

How do I keep informed about what is going on? open

Sign up for alerts and follow us @brighton_line

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