Rail customers to benefit from a more reliable railway as Network Rail get sets to complete 15 key upgrades between Guildford and Petersfield later this month: Network Rail engineers will be completing 15 key upgrades between Guildford and Petersfield

Monday 17 Jul 2023

Rail customers to benefit from a more reliable railway as Network Rail get sets to complete 15 key upgrades between Guildford and Petersfield later this month

Region & Route:
| Southern: Wessex

From Monday 24 to Friday 28 July inclusive, buses will replace South Western Railway (SWR) train services between Guildford and Petersfield while the line is closed to enable Network Rail engineers to complete a range of vital upgrades to help improve the reliability of this important stretch of railway.

Starting a week today, engineers will work around the clock over a five-day period to complete an ambitious 15 different projects at multiple worksites on the Portsmouth Direct line between Guildford and Petersfield.

Completing this work over five consecutive days avoids months of disruptive weekend and night closures.

Between Farncombe and Petersfield teams will be continuing to replace the 1970s signals – the railway’s traffic light system – with new, state of the art digital signalling technology in preparation for the system going live in 2024 as well as installing new power cables to support the new technology.

This work is part of Network Rail’s wider Portsmouth Direct Upgrade programme in which the signalling and track on the line from Woking to Portsmouth Harbour is being upgraded to improve reliability, journey times and potential capacity.

Teams of engineers will be taking advantage of the extended line closure to complete other essential works to keep services running safely and reliably.

At Haslemere, the switches and crossings – the moveable sections of track that guide trains from one track to another – will be renewed, the canopies and footbridge at the station will be spruced up with a new lick of paint, and between Haslemere and Wormley work will be taking place to stabilise the cuttings to help prevent landslides.

An overview of other work that will be completed includes:

  • Renewing 106 sleepers, over 400 metres of track and replacing ballast (the stones that support the track) at Princes Bridge by Liss station
  • Upgrading Sheet level crossing including renewing the existing dated barriers
  • Installing new piles (foundations) for the new signalling system
  • Installing anti-trespass fencing at Farncombe East
  • Managing vegetation along the line
  • Completing routine track maintenance and rail testing
  • Monitoring and inspecting key railway infrastructure to help plan future works.

Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex Route Director, said: “It’s fantastic to see such a large programme of works being planned for the next stage of the Portsmouth Direct Upgrade. Our teams have been planning this closure for months to carefully fit the most amount of work in during the five-day closure, saving both time and taxpayers’ money.

“I’d like to thank customers again for their patience while we carry out these upgrades and bring the signalling system up to modern standards. We know this work will provide a long-term benefit and cause less disruption for passengers in the future.”

Stuart Meek, South Western Railway’s Chief Operating Officer, said: "The major programme of improvements on the Portsmouth Direct line is continuing from 24th to 28th July and we are sorry to customers for the extra time that this will add to their journeys during this period.

“The upgrades to track and signalling and the other infrastructure works taking place will modernise the equipment and improve the reliability of services going forward, giving a better experience for our customers for many years to come.

Contact information

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

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Rob Breckon
Senior Communications Manager - Southern
Network Rail
07395 390759

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.

Usually, there are almost five 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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