Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Network Rail & the Brighton Main Line

From Network Rail


In October 2018 and February 2019, we will be carrying out a major project to improve reliability and performance for passengers on the Brighton Main Line

These works are a key part of a £300m government-funded programme to tackle delay hotspots and boost the reliability of the Brighton Main Line and expanded Thameslink network.

The Brighton Main Line is a key rail artery, connecting Gatwick Airport and the south coast with London, and is used by 300,000 passengers each day. We know that performance on this line has not been good enough in recent years. Southern and Thameslink passengers deserve a better service and our work will help deliver that.

Changes to services across Southern and Thameslink networks

Improvement works will mean significant changes to train services across the Southern and Thameslink networks and will mean longer journeys for passengers. The majority of work has been planned to take place during school half-terms when the railway is less busy, minimising overall disruption.
The sections of railway where engineers will be working is responsible for more delays to Southern and Thameslink passengers than any other. 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.

Key dates

Between Saturday October 20 Sunday October 28 2018 and from Saturday February 16 Sunday February 24 2019:
  • No trains will run between Three Bridges and Brighton or between Three Bridges and Lewes.
  • Brighton, Hove and stations further to the west will continue to have services to and from London, but these will be diverted via Littlehampton and Horsham.
  • There will be no direct trains to London from Lewes or Eastbourne.
Work has been carefully planned for school half-terms, when passenger numbers are lower and some people may be able to be more flexible with their travel plans or take holiday.
Passengers wishing to travel on these dates will need to allow considerably more time for their journeys and should expect to use either diverted trains via longer routes or a replacement bus or coach to connect with rail services.

What are we doing?

The improvement project will focus on the southern end of the Brighton Main Line between Three Bridges and Brighton. Major engineering work is planned for the Victorian-era tunnels at Balcombe, Clayton, Patcham and the railway which runs through them. We’ll be stemming leaks into the tunnels and improving drainage, while the third rail power supply and signalling will also be replaced or upgraded.

Elsewhere on the closed section, we will also replace the track and sets of points, which enable trains to switch between tracks. We’re also carrying out a major piece of work to replace a key junction and upgrade the track and drainage at Earlswood, between Redhill and Gatwick.

Keeping you informed

We will be working with Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express on a large-scale passenger communications campaign to ensure all passengers affected by the closures have the information they need to plan ahead.

The campaign will ensure that passengers, stakeholders, rail user groups and businesses are fully aware of the closures, the impact on journeys, the alternative travel options available to them and the benefits of the work for the region.
For more information on this project please email brightonmainline@networkrail.co.uk


We stay with railways this time with a small selection of photographs that illustrate trains diesel and steam hauled, coping with the inclement weather courtesy of the Beast from the East and Storm Emma from the South. Now in an album, these can be viewed by clicking  here