Passenger advice campaign steps-up for Brighton Main Line improvements with station-by-station guide to closures: Early Morning Leafleting at Balcombe - 1

Tuesday 27 Nov 2018

Passenger advice campaign steps-up for Brighton Main Line improvements with station-by-station guide to closures

Region & Route:
South East
  • £67million upgrade sees major work taking place to improve one of South East's least the reliable lines 
  • New travel advice website to provide station-specific information to travellers on closures
  • Passenger information sessions at two dozen stations over next month

A passenger awareness campaign is being stepped ahead of the closure of the Brighton Main Line for improvements during February half-term next year.

Network Rail is carrying out the biggest refurbishment of the line between Three Bridges and Brighton in more than 30 years with engineers working to improve track, signalling and drainage on the route which has become one of the least reliable in southern England.  The £67 million upgrade includes extensive work in three of the line's Victorian tunnels to reduce leaking which has caused significant delays for passengers in the past.   

The work has required several line closures to the line south of Three Bridges with further closures to come on Sunday 6 January, Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 February, and for 9 days from Saturday 16 to Sunday 24 February.

Network Rail, Gatwick Express, Southern Rail and Thameslink are now launching a new travel advice website to provide station-specific information to travellers, and railway staff will be talking to passengers at two dozen stations over coming weeks to help passengers learn about the upcoming closures so that they can plan ahead.

Paul Harwood, Network Rail’s director of south east route investment, said: "We are reaching out to passengers with our train operator partners to make sure they are informed about the upcoming Brighton Main Line closures.

"By closing the line for one week in February we will be able carry out a huge amount of work simply not possible in more limited weekend closures, turning the Brighton Main Line from one of the least to most reliable routes on our network. 

"I'd encourage passengers to take every opportunity to plan for their journey to make sure they can get to their destinations on time or make alternative arrangements."

Keith Jipps, Govia Thameslink Railway’s infrastructure director, said: "We've been pulling out all the stops to make sure passengers have been informed about the closures on the Brighton Main Line so far but now we really need to reach those passengers likely to travel during February half term.

“This work will be very disruptive and journeys will take longer.  Passengers should log on to for the most advanced information on how the closure will affect them and talk to our special closure awareness station staff at the sessions that have been arranged over the next couple of weeks."

Work to improve the line has already taken place over 9 weekends and has included the renewal over 5 miles of conductor rail, nearly a mile of track and 30 signals together with the replacement of thousands of tonnes of ballast.

Once the work is complete it will reduce the number of delays by up to 15% for passengers travelling between London and the south coast which is currently the line responsible for more delays than any other on the Thameslink and Southern network.

The works to improve the line are being delivered using funding from the £300 million Thameslink Resilience Programme which will see further improvements across the South East network and has already included the refurbishment of the Sevenoaks tunnel in Kent.

The travel advice website can be found at

Notes to Editors

About the Brighton Main Line Improvement Project

Network Rail’s improvement work will focus on four Victorian-era tunnels – Balcombe, Clayton, Patcham and Haywards Heath – and the railway which runs through them. A major programme to stem leaks into the tunnels and provide reliable drainage away from the tracks will take place, while sections of the track, third rail power system and signalling will be replaced or upgraded. Elsewhere, track will be renewed, sets of points, which enable trains to switch between tracks, will be replaced and fencing will be improved to deter trespassers.

The £67m investment is part of a £300m government-funded programme to boost infrastructure resilience and reliability on the busiest routes in the south east. It will reduce delays on the line by around 15% when complete, meaning better and more reliable journeys for passengers.

Dates of planned closures

In 2019, there will be closures on 6 January, 9 and 10 February before the planned nine-day closure from 16 to 24 February, and then weekend closures on 2 , 23 and 30 March, 6 April and a final one day closure on 5 May.

During these closure periods, no trains will run between Three Bridges and Brighton/Lewes via Haywards Heath. Direct services between London and Brighton will continue to run albeit diverted via Littlehampton and Horsham. A network of replacement bus services will operate for the intermediate stations between Three Bridges and Brighton and between Three Bridges and Lewes for the East Coastway. Passengers should allow considerably more time for their journeys during these periods.

A full closure list can be found on the Brighton Mainline Upgrade website here: along with extensive travel advice.

  • To sign up for free alerts and to find out more about the work – including the dates of planned weekend closures – go to News and information will also be shared on Twitter, @brighton_line.
  • The closure dates in detail are as follows:







5-6 Jan



26-27 Jan



9-10 Feb



16-24 Feb

Closed for Feb Half term (including weekdays)

2-3 March



30-31 March



6-7 April



4-5 May



Passenger station information sessions being held at stations:




28 Nov am


28 Nov am


29 Nov am


29 Nov am


30 Nov am


30 Nov am


3 Dec – all day

Three Bridges

4 Dec – all day

Haywards Heath

5 Dec – all day


6 Dec – all day

Preston Park

10 Dec am


10 Dec am


11 Dec am


11 Dec am

West Worthing

12 Dec am


12 Dec am


Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Scott Wilson
Media Manager - Thameslink
Network Rail
07734 650735

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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