Brighton Main Line Improvement Project

In February 2019 plus several weekends, we are carrying out a major project to improve reliability and performance for passengers on the Brighton Main Line

The improvement works on the Brighton Main Line are a key part of a £300 million government-funded programme to tackle delay hotspots and boost the reliability of the railway in the south east, including the expanded Thameslink network.

The Brighton Main Line is a key rail route, connecting Gatwick Airport and the south coast with London, and is used by 300,000 people each day.

The performance on this part of the network needs to be improved and we are working to deliver that. The sections of railway where engineers are working is responsible for more delays to Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink passengers than any other. Without this programme of work, reliability on the Brighton Main Line will deteriorate in the months and years ahead, leading to more delays for passengers.

Changes to the service

Improvement works will mean significant changes to train services across this part of the network and will mean longer journeys for passengers. The majority of work has been planned to take place during February half-term when passenger numbers are lower and some people may be able to be more flexible with their travel plans or take holiday.

Key dates

Saturday 16 — Sunday 24 February 2019

Plus several weekends

This will mean significant changes to train services across the Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink networks and longer journey times for some passengers.

  • No trains will run between Three Bridges and Brighton or between Three Bridges and Lewes on these dates.
  • Brighton and stations to the west will have trains to and from London, but these will be diverted via Littlehampton and Horsham.
  • No direct trains to London from Lewes or Eastbourne

Passengers wishing to travel on these dates will need to allow considerably more time for their journeys and should expect to use either diverted trains via longer routes or a replacement bus or coach to connect with rail services. Consider alternative routes, working from home (if possible) or travelling outside of peak times.

What are we doing?

The improvement project is focussing on the southern end of the Brighton Main Line between Three Bridges and Brighton. Major engineering work is planned for the Victorian-era tunnels at Balcombe, Clayton, Haywards Heath and Patcham and the railway which runs through them.

We are stemming leaks into the tunnels and improving drainage, while the third rail power supply and signalling are also being replaced or upgraded.

Elsewhere on the closed section, we are replacing the track and sets of points, which enable trains to switch between tracks.


Keeping you informed

We will be working with Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink on a large-scale passenger communications campaign to ensure all passengers affected by the closures have the information they need to plan ahead.

We are running a campaign to ensure that passengers, stakeholders, rail user groups and businesses are fully aware of the closures, the impact on journeys, the alternative travel options available to them and the benefits of the work for the region.

For more information and Travel Advice email: or visit