Upgrading the Brighton Main Line and its branch lines

Faster, more reliable services and improved connections across the region.


The Brighton Main Line is among the most complex and congested routes in the country, the infrastructure on the line is also some of the oldest and most intensively used.

The age of the infrastructure and the complex railway layout, particularly the Croydon bottleneck, mean that without significant investment performance will not improve. It also means that journey times will always be constrained, and we won’t be able to run the additional trains needed to meet passenger demand or serve new destinations, in the future.

Our strategy

We’ll continue to upgrade ageing infrastructure and address historic underinvestment in the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the railway through our Sussex Upgrades (2019-2024 renewals).

Our long-term strategy is to address bottlenecks on the line, in particular the Croydon bottleneck as part of our Brighton Main Line Upgrade proposals.

Brighton Main Line Upgrade

As part of long-term strategy to upgrade the Brighton Main Line and address bottlenecks along the line we’re proposing a number of interventions:  

  • Croydon Area Remodelling Scheme (CARS)
  • Smaller projects along the line including modified signal positions and enhanced track layouts to allow faster journeys and greater operational flexibility.

The Croydon Area Remodelling Scheme (CARS)

CARS is the largest and most complex part of our longer-term Brighton Main Line upgrade proposals.  CARS would remove the most challenging bottleneck on Britain’s railway network; our proposals consist of the following:

  • An expanded and enhanced East Croydon station
  • ‘Selhurst Triangle’ track remodelling
  • Lower Addiscombe Road/Windmill Bridge reconstruction
  • Norwood Junction station improvements.

Development has been affected by issues such as the significant uncertainty about future passenger behaviour and demand following the COVID-19 pandemic and funding constraints following the Governments 2020 Spending Review.

Given the significant investment required to deliver this scheme, we are now taking time to consider how the pandemic may affect passenger behaviour and travel patterns in the future, and how any such changes should be reflected in infrastructure investments such as this.

Improvements along the line

While further development work is needed on some of the largest element of proposals, we are bringing forward a number of projects in the next year.

  • Modified signal positions at Clapham Junctions to increase capacity
  • A new crossover in the Horsham area to provide more operational flexibility
  • An enhanced track layout in the Gatwick Airport area to enable faster journey times.

Reigate station upgrade

  • Development of proposals, and the business case, for a new 12 car platform at Reigate station continues. 

Contact us

For more information on our proposals you can email us at crsouthern@networkrail.co.uk. You can also visit our contact us page or call our 24-hour national helpline on 03457 11 41 41 or you can contact us on Twitter at @NetworkRailSE

Related project pages