• Network Rail to carry out biggest improvement work programme in the Guildford area for 40 years, from Friday 10 April to Sunday 19 April
• Preparatory works in the area will mean bus replacements on Sunday 15, 22 and 29 March.
• More than a mile of new track and new conductor rail to provide power to trains will be installed alongside 41 track circuits which tell signallers where trains are on the network
Passengers are reminded to plan ahead as Network Rail will carry out the largest programme of improvement work in the Guildford area for 40 years for ten days over Easter with preparatory works affecting services over the next three Sundays.
When complete, the upgrade will provide a more reliable railway and better performing train services for trains between London and Guildford, Woking and Portsmouth, Reading and Redhill, and Guildford and Alton.
This Sunday marks the start of three consecutive Sundays (15, 22 and 29 March) used to prepare for the works. There will be limited train services from the station, with a service between Guildford and London Waterloo via Cobham on those days with buses replacing trains on all other routes.
The main work will take place four weeks from now between Friday 10 April and Sunday 19 April and will affect trains operated by SWR, GWR, Cross Country and Southern as follows:
- SWR services between Woking/Guildford and Haslemere and between Guildford and Aldershot will be replaced by buses
- SWR will run a limited service between London Waterloo and Guildford, via Cobham & Stoke D’ Abernon, from Tuesday 14 April.
- GWR services between Reading and Gatwick Airport will terminate at Ash. Replacement bus services will run between North Camp and Gatwick Airport.
- CrossCountry services between Newcastle and Guildford will terminate at Reading.
- Southern services to Guildford will start and terminate at Epsom.
The junction at Guildford was last upgraded in the early 1980s and following almost 40 years of heavy traffic, plus a rising demand for services, engineers will install nearly a mile of new track to ensure a more reliable railway for years to come.
More than a mile of new conductor rail will be installed that provides power to trains, whilst 41 track circuits – which tell signallers where trains are on the network – will be upgraded. The project has taken two years to plan and a combined team will work for a total of 12,000 hours to complete the work.
Passengers should plan ahead and check before they travel with National Rail Enquiries or their train operator, as services are subject to changes and may take longer than usual.
Mark Killick, Network Rail Wessex route director, said: “Over Easter 2020, we will deliver the biggest rail improvement programme in the Guildford area for 40 years. I am sorry to passengers for the disruption that this will cause; there is never a good time to close the railway, however this work is vital if we are to improve train services in the area for generations to come.
“I would like to remind passengers whose train services are routed through Guildford to plan ahead and check before they travel, over the next three weekends and during the main works as the line will be blocked between Friday 10 April and Sunday 19 April, with very limited services.
“Closing the line for 10 days will allow us to carry out the work quickly and efficiently, compared to a long period of weekend closures, which could take months.”
Alan Penlington, South Western Railway Customer Experience Director, said: “These crucial works will increase the reliability of train services that travel through Guildford and help reduce disruption in the future. I realise there is never a convenient time to close the railway, but Network Rail has chosen to carry out these works over the Easter holidays when passenger demand is typically lower.”
“I appreciate the patience of our customers whilst the improvement works are carried out and I urge anyone who is traveling via Guildford over the Easter period to check before they travel.”
At the same time, maintenance works will affect many services on South Western Railway (SWR), Great Western Railway (GWR) Southern and Crosscountry across the three weekends. Passengers are advised to check if they plan to travel through Guildford over the weekends of 14-15 March, 21-22 or 28-29 March.