February 2022 will see a nine-day closure of the Brighton Main Line to allow Network Rail engineers to complete a junction renewal and build a new underpass.
The £11 million junction renewal will take place near Haywards Heath, with the new underpass being built at Hassocks.
The vast project will mean the railway between Three Bridges, Brighton and Lewes will need to be closed for 9 days to allow the work to be carried out safely. The closure will take place from Saturday the 19th to Sunday the 27th February 2022.
Work to support the project will also be carried out over the weekends before and after the main closure and will mean that the line will also be closed on the weekend of the 15th & 16th of January, the 12th & 13th of February, the 5th & 6th of March and also Sunday the 3rd of April.
Passengers are also reminded of planned maintenance closures between Three Bridges and Brighton and Lewes on Saturday the 9th and Sunday the 10th of October, and also on Saturday the 13th of November, which will affect Brighton Main Line services with diversions put in place and rail replacement buses taking the place of trains.
Network Rail have planned the work carefully and will utilise the time when the lines are closed to rebuild Copyhold Junction, which is near Haywards Heath and will include the installation of new track and points and the replacement of track at Burgess Hill. A further part of the work will be replacing the Woodside level crossing near Hassocks with an underpass.
The level crossing at Woodside was recently closed following a number of near-misses with confirmation of people taking unacceptable risks. The underpass will offer a safe route under the tracks, removing the risk of crossing the operational railway.
The work being carried out at Copyhold Junction and Burgess Hill will include:
- Over 7,000 tonnes of ballast which is the stones which sit beneath the track and provide support
- Replacement of over 1,000 metres of track
- The renewal of eight sets of points, allowing trains to move from one track to another.
Further work will also be added to the project over the next few months to enable Network Rail to make as much use of the line closure as possible in a bid to keep future disruption to a minimum for passengers and the local community.
Katie Frost, Sussex route director for Network Rail, said: “I really appreciate the patience of our passengers as I know it feels like we’re constantly working on the railway, but by concentrating work into week or two-week blocks like this, we’re able to get more work done and reduce the number of weekends we’d have to close the railway.
“The Brighton Main Line is Sussex’s major railway artery and is used by hundreds of trains a day travelling to destinations across the South of England. By completing the critical work at Hove and planning this next major project, we are protecting the railway for the future and helping the country and the railway build back better from the pandemic. The alternative would have been up to 20 weekend closures or multiple bank holiday closures over two years, which would be unacceptable to our neighbours, passengers and stakeholders.
“We are working hard alongside our train operators to plan alternatives for passengers and keep them informed of the changes to services when work is taking place.”
Chris Fowler, Customer Services Director for Southern, said: “This route is one of the country’s busiest, and Network Rail’s major investment is essential to give our customers the reliable, on-time services they rightly expect. We’ll ensure that alternative transport is in place when lines are closed, and we’ll issue detailed travel advice over the coming months. Journeys will take considerably longer during the nine-day and weekend closures, and we thank customers in advance for their patience.”
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