Southern Rail

Consultation announced on ‘transformational’ plan to remove Britain’s worst railway bottleneck and provide a step-change in reliability

People across the south east of England will be able to have their say on proposals for a major railway upgrade to improve punctuality, speed up journey times and enable more trains to run on one of the country’s busiest main lines.

To find out more about the proposals, and to respond, click here.

Passengers reminded to check ahead for weekend closures on the Brighton Main Line in October

Weekend rail passengers are reminded to check before travelling on the southern part of the Brighton Main Line in October as work to improve one of the least reliable parts of the South East’s rail network steps up in intensity.

Network Rail engineers are carrying out the first major overhaul of the railway between Three Bridges and Brighton in more than thirty years.

The work includes upgrades to track, signalling and tunnel drainage which will lead to fewer delays owing to equipment faults or problems caused by flooding inside Victorian tunnels.

The £67m Brighton Main Line Improvement Project is part of a wider £300m programme to improve the reliability of some of the busiest and most congested lines in the South East, including the recently expanded Thameslink network.

The line will be closed between Three Bridges and Brighton and Three Bridges and Lewes on all four weekends in October while teams of engineers work inside the tunnels at Balcombe and Clayton.

Paul Harwood, Network Rail’s director of South East route investment, said: “We want to make the least reliable part of our network better for passengers and our work to upgrade the southern end of the Brighton Main Line is now well underway.   

“We know there’s never a good time to close the railway, which is why we’re working closely with our train operator partners to keep disruption to passengers to an absolute minimum. I’d advise passengers to keep an eye out for the information that’s available to them in stations and online and plan ahead if travelling at weekends in October.”

Keith Jipps, Govia Thameslink Railway’s Infrastructure Director, said: “Network Rail’s works to upgrade the Brighton Main Line really are vital for us to continue to improve our service and we appreciate many of our passengers who use the railway at the weekends will be inconvenienced.

“I’d remind travellers that Brighton and surrounding towns remain open for business and there will be an extensive bus replacement service and trains running via the longer route through Littlehampton.”

Network Rail Re-Think Week Long Brighton Line Closure in October 2018

After extensive consultation with passengers Network Rail have now removed a week of the most disruptive elements of their planned work in October 2018.  Previously no trains would have been able to use the Brighton line during one week of the October half term.

The work will now be carried out using just one nine-day closure from 16–24 February 2019, with supporting weekend closures from September 2018 to May 2019 remaining as planned.   In a statement Network Rail said, "The weekday closures have been carefully planned for the February school half-term (16-24 February), when passenger numbers are lower and some people may be able to be more flexible with their travel plans or take holiday."
The planned dates are:


The programme of works will involve:
• Stemming leaks into the tunnels and improving drainage
• Upgrading or replacing the third rail power system and signalling
• Replacing track and sets of points, which enable trains to switch between tracks
• Replacing fencing and improving security to deter trespassers.
It will improve reliability on the Brighton Main Line significantly, reducing delays for passengers travelling between London and the south coast.