May bank holiday travel: Rail customers in Sussex told to plan ahead as Network Rail gets set to undertake essential planned engineering work

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From Saturday, May 4 to Monday, May 6, customers are asked to check before travelling as planned upgrades and routine maintenance to the railway take place across Kent, Sussex and south east London.

Between Farringdon and Loughborough Junction, Blackfriars and Herne Hill as well as between Battersea Pier and Factory Junction, Network Rail will be carrying out some preparatory work in relation to the Victoria re-signalling programme.

The work includes installation of new signalling equipment and testing, and is part of a major package of upgrades to modernise 1980s track and signalling on the south London lines into London Victoria.

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As a result, on Sunday, May 5 no Thameslink services will run to or from Wimbledon and Sutton, and Sevenoaks services will be amended to run from London Victoria instead of London Blackfriars.

From Saturday, May 4 to Monday, May 6, customers are asked to check before travelling as planned upgrades and routine maintenance to the railway take place across Kent, Sussex and south east London. Picture contributedFrom Saturday, May 4 to Monday, May 6, customers are asked to check before travelling as planned upgrades and routine maintenance to the railway take place across Kent, Sussex and south east London. Picture contributed
From Saturday, May 4 to Monday, May 6, customers are asked to check before travelling as planned upgrades and routine maintenance to the railway take place across Kent, Sussex and south east London. Picture contributed

Work between Shepherd’s Bush and Watford Junction means there will be no Southern service on that route between 8pm on Saturday, May 4 and midday on Sunday, May 5, or on Sunday evening from 9pm. Tickets will be accepted on London Underground.

Almost all of the Southeastern routes are open over the bank holiday weekend but on Sunday, May 5, between Sevenoaks and Paddock Wood, engineering teams will be carrying out earthworks, vegetation clearance, tunnel works and track maintenance. An accessible bus service will run from Sevenoaks to Paddock Wood, and from Sevenoaks to Tunbridge Wells.

Also on the Sunday, between Sole Street, Strood and Rainham, track refurbishment taking place and engineers are carrying out track maintenance, vegetation clearance, structure examination and drainage works. Buses are available between Meopham and Rainham, and between Strood and Rainham.

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From the early hours of Sunday, May 5 to the early hours of Monday, May 6, between Barnham and Havant junction there will be vegetation clearance, rail and structure inspections and routine track maintenance. Rail replacement buses will operate. Services that normally run to/from Brighton and London to Portsmouth and Southampton will be diverted to and from Bognor Regis.

At West Sutton, there are emergency earthworks to repair a landslip next to the line, where a resident’s land is slipping and presents a risk to the railway. Engineers have been working to stabilise the embankment by installing piling over weekends in April and they will be continuing the works over the early May bank holiday to stabilise the embankment. Customers will be able to use their tickets on local buses.

Overnight on Sunday, May 5, teams will be carrying out routine track maintenance, vegetation clearance and structures work in the Balham area. There will be a late-night rail replacement bus service in operation.

On the lines between Redhill and Tonbridge, and Sevenoaks and Paddock Wood, teams will be working from early Sunday morning until early Monday morning to carry out embankment works and electrification works in various locations, most of which are in preparation for main works later in the year. Buses will replace Southern trains between Redhill and Tonbridge all day on Sunday.

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Lucy McAuliffe, Network Rail’s Sussex route director, said: “Over the early May bank holiday weekend our engineers will be working hard across a number of work sites to complete a range of important maintenance and upgrades to keep the railway running safely and reliably.

“There is never a good time to close part of the railway but the long weekend allows us to complete a large amount of work simultaneously which is less disruptive to our rail customers.

“I’d like to thank customers for their patience and understanding while we complete this work and urge anyone intending to travel by rail over the bank holiday weekend to please plan ahead as and check before travelling.”

Scott Brightwell, Southeastern's operations and safety director, said: “We are running almost a full service over this bank holiday weekend and customers can travel to all the great destinations on our route. We do have some timetable changes on the Sunday but there are bus services running between the affected stations. As always please check before you travel and enjoy the long weekend wherever you are going.”

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Jenny Saunders, customer services director for Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “Network Rail’s essential improvements and repairs over the bank holiday weekend will affect a number of Southern and Thameslink services in Kent, Hampshire and South London, so we are grateful to our customers for their patience and understanding. Buses will replace trains on some routes, so please allow extra time when planning your journey, and remember to double-check before you set off.”

Passengers are urged to check before they travel at www.nationalrail.co.uk.

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