FA Cup semi-final: Brighton and Man United fans issued important train travel advice

Network RailNetwork Rail
Network Rail
Sussex rail passengers have been urged to plan ahead of Brighton’s FA Cup semi-final with Manchester United as planned engineering will affect some Southern and Thameslink services.

Network Rail said trains and stations will be busier than usual on Sunday (April 23) with spectators travelling to and from the London Marathon and FA Cup semi-final.

The train companies have been working closely with Brighton and Hove Albion, according to Network Rail.

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The spokesperson added: “As previously advertised on web sites and journey planners, there will be changes to services in Sussex, Surrey, south and central London.

“On Sunday, buses will replace trains along the West Sussex coast between Littlehampton and Brighton to allow Network Rail to carry out long-planned essential maintenance to track and switches and crossings, the moveable rails that allow trains to switch lines.

“Some lines between Purley and Balcombe will be closed, meaning slightly longer journey times on the Brighton main line, as Network Rail’s tamping machines will be operating. Tampers pack the stones under the rails and sleepers to ensure the track is level and trains run at full line speed.”

On Saturday and Sunday, buses will replace trains between Streatham Hill and Crystal Palace/West Croydon as work to install a new signalling system continues in south London, Network Rail added.

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The spokesperson said: “Also on Saturday and Sunday, no Thameslink trains will run between and London Bridge and St Pancras International or Finsbury Park. Thameslink services from Brighton, Horsham and Rainham will run to amended timetables and terminate at London Bridge.

"Services from Bedford and Luton will terminate at St Pancras; Thameslink services from Peterborough and Cambridge will be diverted to King’s Cross.

"Passengers can use tube and bus services to cross central London. This will allow engineers to replace 270m of worn rail in the Snow Hill tunnel, which carries Thameslink trains under Smithfield Market. Repairs, maintenance and inspections will take place across all closed lines.”

Network rail explained that buses will also replace trains between Hastings and Ashford International, although services between Ore and London Victoria will still run. Engineers will be replacing rails, sleepers and ballast near Winchelsea.

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Network Rail's Sussex route director Lucy McAuliffe said: “We plan maintenance closures years in advance and we’re sorry that some passengers making their way to the football or to the marathon will have slightly longer journeys this weekend.

“Please be assured that the majority of routes into and out of London are running as normal.

“The railway needs regular maintenance to keep it running and the bumper package of essential repairs and improvements we have this week will keep passengers moving safely and reliably.”

Customer services director for Southern and Thameslink Jenny Saunders added: “We thank passengers for their patience while Network Rail carry out this essential work. We’ll still have trains running between Brighton and London, and along our East Coastway route as far as Ore. However, buses will replace services between Brighton and Littlehampton, and between Hastings and Ashford.

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“Trains and replacement buses will be very busy on Sunday and there could be queues, so please allow plenty of extra time when planning your journey.”