Track replacement work plus the building of a new underpass means that the railway between Three Bridges, Brighton and Lewes will be closed for 9 days from Saturday the 19th to Sunday the 27th of February 2022.
The nine-day closure will enable Network Rail to replace the 1980’s track at Copyhold junction which is near to Haywards Heath and links Burgess Hill and Lewes.
A new underpass will also be built to give safe access for the public under the railway at Hassocks as part of the project.
Further work will also be added to the project during the next few months to make sure that the 9-day closure is used as productively as possible and ultimately minimising future disruption for passengers and locals.
Other options were considered but the 9-day closure was the most acceptable and efficient for both passengers, neighbours and stakeholders.
Alternative travel options will be in place for passengers which will be similar to line closures from Three Bridges to Brighton during February 2019. The alternative travel arrangements will include replacements buses and tickets being accepted on open routes.
The work taking place on the railway will include using 7,000 tonnes of ballast being replaced as well as more than 1,000 meters of track being renewed.
8 sets of points that allow trains to move from one track to another, will also be renewed.
Network Rail Southern region’s investment director Paul Harwood said: “We never take the decision to close the railway lightly and have reviewed this work and access approach in light of the difficult year for passengers, the industry and the country at large, to confirm it is the best option.
“As we need to get this critical work done quickly and efficiently to help the country and the railway build back from the pandemic, we believe that getting the work done in 9 days and the supporting weekends has never been more important.
“The alternative to delivering this investment over the extended closure in winter, when demand is naturally lower, would have been up to 20 weekend closures or multiple bank holiday closures over two years, which we are confident is unacceptable to our neighbours, passengers and stakeholders, in particular the leisure and tourism industry on the south coast.
“We are working closely with Govia Thameslink Railway to plan the alternative travel arrangements and make passengers aware of the impact on their journeys, and will regularly liaise with stakeholders and passenger groups as the plans develop”.
Chris Fowler, Customer Services Director for Southern, said: “This route is one of the country’s busiest, and Network Rail’s track renewal is essential to give our customers the reliable, on-time services they rightly expect. We’ll be ensuring that alternative transport is in place, and we’ll issue detailed travel advice over the coming months. Journeys will take considerably longer during the nine days of work and we thank customers in advance for their patience.”
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