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.
• Note that non-folding cycles cannot be carried on replacement buses
• If you require assistance, please book in advance at southernrailway.com/accessibility
• Please plan your journey by visiting nationalrail.co.uk and using the journey planner
Travelling at weekends? open
A frequent bus service has been arranged to run on the following routes:
• Three Bridges - Brighton non-stop
• Three Bridges - Brighton calling at Balcombe, Haywards Heath, Wivelsfield, Burgess Hill, Hassocks, Preston Park
• Three Bridges - Lewes non-stop
• Haywards Heath - Lewes calling at Wivelsfield, Plumpton, Lewes
A direct train will also run between Brighton and Three Bridges / Gatwick Airport / London Victoria via Littlehampton on a diverted route.
Journey times will be extended.
Please note that on 23 & 24 March and 5 May the arrangements will be different to the above. Please check the home page and key dates for more details.
Has ticket acceptance been arranged? open
The following ticket acceptance has been arranged to assist you on your journey:
Train services to / from London
'Thameslink only' routed season tickets will be accepted on Southern services between Brighton and London Victoria via Littlehampton. If you are travelling to/from Thameslink stations between London Bridge and St Pancras you will need to change at Three Bridges or East Croydon. Tickets will not be accepted on London Underground services or London buses.
Other 'Thameslink only' routed tickets are valid on Southern services between Brighton and Three Bridges via Littlehampton. Change to / from Thameslink services at Three Bridges.
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:
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: email@example.com
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 replacement bus services use accessible vehicles.
If a non-accessible vehicle has to be used for any reason 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.
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
How do I find out more? open
Sign up for alerts brightonmainline.co.uk