Railway line closure during £20m signalling upgrade

The signal box at Lewes Railway Station will be closed, with control transferred to Three Bridges
The signal box at Lewes Railway Station will be closed, with control transferred to Three Bridges

The railway line between Lewes and Seaford will be closed this month while Network Rail carries out a major £20m upgrade.

For 10 days from Saturday, August 18, to Monday, August 27, engineers will be working to replace all signalling equipment with new, more reliable technology.

Additional improvements will take place to allow triple the number of trains to use the line via Lewes as a diversionary route for services between Brighton and Haywards Heath when the main line is closed.

The railway sidings at Newhaven Marine will also be upgraded to support a potential freight connection in the future.

While the railway is closed between Lewes and Seaford, buses will replace trains every 10 minutes during peak times and every 15 minutes off-peak.

Additional buses will be available to provide extra capacity if needed. More information on the replacement bus service is available from the operator and from www.nationalrail.co.uk

John Halsall, Network Rail’s managing director for the South East route, said: “We know that there is never a good time to close the railway, especially during weekdays.

“I’d like to apologise to passengers for the disruption this will cause and thank them in advance for their patience and understanding.”

The engineers will renew outdated signalling equipment between Lewes and Newhaven. It will see the signal boxes at Lewes, Newhaven Town and Newhaven Harbour closed, with control of the signalling in the area transferred to Network Rail’s state-of-the-art route operating centre at Three Bridges.

In addition, the scheme will improve the diversionary route capability for London/Haywards Heath – Brighton services via Lewes, with three trains per hour able to use this route rather than the current one train per hour.

This reduces the requirement for rail replacement buses during planned engineering work and enable services to keep moving during unplanned disruption.

Old semaphore signals and points at Newhaven Marine sidings will also be replaced with a simpler layout to modern standards. This is with the view to facilitating a rail freight connection with the Port Authority as part of a separate scheme.