Rail passengers in West Sussex and Hampshire are advised to plan ahead and allow more time for their journeys over the autumn half-term and some further weekends afterwards as Network Rail works to complete a multi-million-pound upgrade of the lines between Barnham, Chichester and Havant.
Network Rail engineers will be working over nine days, from Saturday 26 October to Sunday 3 November plus two Sundays and one further weekend, date to be confirmed, to lay 2.3km of new track including at Basin Road, Stockbridge Road and Bosham level crossings, plus the Brook Lane footpath crossing. Improvement work will also be carried out at the stations affected by the closure. The planned dates for work are:
- Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 October
- Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 November
- Sunday 10 November
- Sunday 17 November
During the week days, from Monday 28 October to Friday 1 November 2019, buses will replace trains between Havant and Chichester and journeys will take longer than usual.
On the following weekend dates the line between Havant and Barnham will be closed, meaning buses will replace trains between those stations on each date affected. Work on the level crossings will result in some diversions on local roads. More information will be available as soon as diversions are confirmed.
Throughout the work there will be no Southern trains west of Havant to Portsmouth or Southampton. Great Western Railway services to/from Brighton will run to/from Portsmouth instead. Trains to London will still run from Havant (to London Waterloo via South Western Railway) and Bognor Regis (via Southern). During the week days, trains to London will also run from Chichester (via Southern).
Network Rail and the Train Operating Companies are working together to develop a full programme of alternative transport arrangements. Details of which will be announced closer to the dates of the closure.
The work will improve the reliability of rail services on the line reducing delays for rail passengers.
Paul Harwood, director of route Investment for Network Rail south east route said: “We are continuing to invest in the railway to provide passengers with more reliable journeys. That work is set to continue with this investment over the autumn half-term.
“There is never a good time to close the railway, but services are significantly quieter over the half-term. Also opting for this closure rather than spreading all the work out over a number of weekends we will save 200 hours. The alternative would have been 13 weekend closures.
“I’d like to thank passengers for their patience as we complete this work”.
Keith Jipps, infrastructure director for Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway said: “We welcome the investment on this part of the route and will work with Network Rail to limit the disruption to passengers during this vital project. An alternative rail replacement bus service will be in place and we’ll ensure that passengers are kept up to date with the options available to them.”