The line closure will take place from Saturday 19 to Sunday 27 February 2022 and will allow Network Rail to replace 1980s track at Copyhold junction (near Haywards Heath), and between Burgess Hill and Lewes
A new underpass to provide safe access under the railway at Hassocks will also be built during the 9-day closure. More work will be brought into the project over the coming months to ensure as much work as possible is done to minimise future disruption to passengers and neighbours.
When lines are closed, alternative travel arrangements will be put in place for passengers, similar to the February 2019 Three Bridges to Brighton closure, including replacement buses and ticket acceptance on open routes.
The work will include:
- Using over 7,000 tonnes of ballast - the stones beneath the track that give support
- Over 1,000 metres of track renewal
- 8 sets of point renewals - these are mechanical systems that move the switches and crossings that guide trains from one track to another.
Network Rail Southern region’s investment director Paul Harwood said: “We never take the decision to close the railway lightly and have reviewed this work and access approach in light of the difficult year for passengers, the industry and the country at large, to confirm it is the best option.
“As we need to get this critical work done quickly and efficiently to help the country and the railway build back from the pandemic, we believe that getting the work done in 9 days and the supporting weekends has never been more important.
“The alternative to delivering this investment over the extended closure in winter, when demand is naturally lower, would have been up to 20 weekend closures or multiple bank holiday closures over two years, which we are confident is unacceptable to our neighbours, passengers and stakeholders, in particular the leisure and tourism industry on the south coast.
“We are working closely with Govia Thameslink Railway to plan the alternative travel arrangements and make passengers aware of the impact on their journeys, and will regularly liaise with stakeholders and passenger groups as the plans develop”.
Chris Fowler, Customer Services Director for Southern, said: “This route is one of the country’s busiest, and Network Rail’s track renewal is essential to give our customers the reliable, on-time services they rightly expect. We’ll be ensuring that alternative transport is in place, and we’ll issue detailed travel advice over the coming months. Journeys will take considerably longer during the nine days of work and we thank customers in advance for their patience.”
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