What is the Brighton Main Line Improvement Project? open
The Brighton Main Line Improvement Project is 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 project is an engineering programme being carried out by Network Rail, with the support of its partners, UK Government, Southern and Govia Thameslink. 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 being carried out? open
The improvement work focuses on four 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 is taking place, while some track is being replaced, third rail power system and signalling is all being replaced or upgraded. Elsewhere, track is being renewed, sets of points, which enable trains to switch between tracks, are being replaced and fencing is being 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.
Will the work be completed on time? open
We’ll have hundreds of people working round-the-clock for nine days and during the weekend closure dates to complete the planned work safely and on time.
What is the travel advice? open
If you do wish to travel, we will ensure that you can, but please note you will need to allow extra time for your journey.
Advice will vary depending on the journey you are making as shown below. If you are travelling on affected routes:
• Consider working at home if possible
• Consider travelling outside of peak time and allowing more time to travel
• Note that non-folding cycles cannot be carried on replacement buses
• If you require assistance, please book in advance at southernrailway.com/accessibility
• Unless detailed below, please plan your journey by visiting nationalrail.co.uk and using the journey planner
Has ticket acceptance been arranged on local buses? open
Brighton & Hove buses will accept valid paper rail tickets and tickets held on Key Smartcards (but not KeyGo) on the bus services listed below:
• Route 2 between Shoreham-by-Sea, Central Hove and Brighton Churchill Square
• Route 5 & 5A between Preston Park, Brighton Churchill Square and Central Hove
• Route 6 between Portslade, Central Hove, Brighton Churchill Square and Brighton
• Route 7 between Hove and Brighton
• Routes 12, 12A & 12X between Brighton, Newhaven, Seaford and Eastbourne
• Route 25 between Falmer, Moulsecoomb, Brighton Churchill Square and Central Hove
• Routes 28 & 29 between Brighton, Lewes and Uckfield
• Route 46 between Southwick, Portslade, Central Hove, Brighton Churchill Square and London Road
• Via any reasonable route within the Brighton City Area
Metrobus buses will accept valid paper rail tickets and tickets held on Key Smartcards (but not KeyGo) on the bus services listed below:
• Route 10 between Crawley and Gatwick Airport
• Route 20 between Crawley, Three Bridges, Gatwick Airport and Horley
• Route 23 between Crawley and Horsham
• Route 100 between Redhill, Salfords, Gatwick Airport, Crawley and Three Bridges
• Route 200 between Horsham, Littlehaven, Ifield and Gatwick Airport
• Routes 430 & 435 between Redhill and Earlswood
Metrobus will also accept valid rail season tickets with an origin/destination of Three Bridges on their local services between Three Bridges railway station and the neighbourhoods around Crawley, including Copthorne and Crawley Down
To plan a journey on Brighton & Hove routes visit buses.co.uk
To plan a journey on Metrobus routes visit metrobus.co.uk
How should I plan my journey? open
Please plan your journey by visiting nationalrail.co.uk using the planner. For some journeys, it may be necessary to add a “via” station to get the recommended route, details of this are listed above.
How should I check my journey on the day of travel?
Information regarding any on-the-day disruption or unplanned alterations, including travel advice will be available via the following sources:
Are there any changes to car parking arrangements? open
We have secured 2,800 car parking spaces at Gatwick Airport and a frequent shuttle bus will operate to/from the train station. There is no charge for using this facility however it will be limited and available on a first come first serve basis by booking in advance. Please do so by emailing email@example.com
Please check station page for details to any changes at station car parks
What help will there be for passengers with accessibility needs? open
We recommend passengers let us know 24 hours before they plan to travel so we can be on hand to help. Passengers can do this by filling in our assistance booking form online www.southernrailway.com/travel-information/travel-help/assisted-travel/book-assistance-for-your-journey
Email us on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call us on: 0800 138 1016 (information may be recorded)
Textphone: 0800 138 1018 SMS Text: 07860 034 269*
Our assisted travel helpline is open every day from 0700 to 2200, except on Christmas Day.
We have worked with our bus supplier to ensure that there will be accessible vehicles on as many routes as possible.
Some peak time non‐stop routes between certain stations will operate using coaches which may not
be accessible to a wheelchair user. In these cases we will ensure there is a suitable alternative.
Why are there no published timetables for the bus services? open
Times are shown in on-line journey planners to allow you to plan your journey. We advise you to arrive at your origin station in plenty of time for the departure time to allow you to board the next available bus.
Buses will operate every few minutes on some routes; the exact times may vary depending on demand and traffic conditions on the day.
Why are there no direct buses between Brighton and Three Bridges? open
The number of customers travelling on the Brighton mainline makes it impractical to transport everyone using buses alone.
The road congestion caused by the large number of buses required, the amount of time taken to load/unload so many buses and the road layout for large vehicles in a number of locations would lead to journeys being very much longer than a normal road journey between these two locations.
We recommend using the two trains per hour running between London and Brighton via the diversion route. These trains will be formed of 12 carriages. This diversion route takes approximately 60 minutes longer than normal, but less than would be the case if customers were solely moved by bus.
What if there is disruption on the diverted route for Brighton trains? open
Additional work to improve the resilience of this route has recently been completed by Network Rail. Network Rail also have additional technical staff working during the blockade at key locations on the diversion route, so if anything was to go wrong they will be able to attend as quickly as possible.
We also have a number of stand-by buses available on demand if we need to respond to a problem.
Are any other routes affected? open
There is a revised timetable on the Arun Valley line from 16 to 24 February to allow us to run a limited London – Brighton service via this route. The overall level of service at Arun Valley line stations is not changed but passengers should check train times as these will be different to normal.
There are no direct Thameslink services from the Cambridge line to Brighton from 16 to 24 February. At peak times trains will continue to run through London as far as Three Bridges. At off-peak times trains will be diverted to King’s Cross and passengers should use connecting services to/from St Pancras. Because of reduced capacity to turn longer trains at King’s Cross and Three Bridges some services will be formed of fewer carriages than normal during this week.
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