Network Rail engineers worked around the clock over the Early May bank holiday to deliver vital rail upgrades across Kent, Sussex and Wessex.

Supported by a large fleet of engineering trains, road-rail vehicles and specialist machinery, teams completed essential upgrades to track and improvements to stations.

This programme of work across the Network Rail Southern Region will deliver a more reliable and safer railway with improved facilities for people who have to travel by rail and for freight services.

John Halsall, managing director for Network Rail Southern region, said: John Halsall, managing director for Network Rail Southern region, said: “I would like to thank all of our staff who worked tirelessly over the bank holiday and I am sorry to anyone who was inconvenienced by our work.

“We need to continue with these upgrades as they are critical to keeping people and freight supplies moving as the country battles coronavirus.”

The work carried out between Friday 8 May and Sunday 10 May included:

Sussex route:

  • Almost 460 metres of track renewed in Clayton Tunnel near Hassocks on the Brighton Main Line and an upgrade of the Cooksbridge level crossing including replacing the sleepers, ballast and track

Kent route:

  • Track and drainage improvements between Tonbridge and Ashford International, and between Sevenoaks, Paddock Wood and Tunbridge Wells helping maintain track quality, prevent speed restrictions and delays.
  • Switches and crossings, the moveable sections of track that allow trains to switch lines, have been refurbished at Gillingham and Paddock Wood improving the reliability of the junctions
  • Station maintenance at Paddock Wood, Marden, Dover Priory, New Beckenham Shortlands and Lewisham stations including platform and canopy repairs.

Wessex route:

  • Refurbishing the track and points (which allows trains to move tracks) between Epsom, Leatherhead and Effingham Junction and between Staines and Whitton
  • Upgrades to signals between New Malden and Fulwell and between Staines,  Weybridge and Ascot
  • Replaced ballast at Feltham to help improve track reliability and prepare for the development of SWR's new train-care depot.

In line with Government advice, Network Rail will continue with engineering work that is required to maintain a safe and operational railway. These upgrades and repairs will help keep passengers who must travel, moving on a safe and reliable railway.