Sunday 11 Feb 2024
TOMORROW: Vital upgrades to the railway between Portsmouth and Fareham over the February half term
Network Rail is reminding customers to plan ahead and allow plenty of time as buses replace South Western Railway (SWR), Great Western Railway (GWR) and Southern trains between Southampton Central and Havant, Eastleigh and Portsmouth Harbour and Southampton Central and Portsmouth Harbour this February half term – starting tomorrow (Monday 12 February).
Between Monday 12 February until Friday 16 February, Network Rail engineers will be working around the clock to upgrade the railway in the Portsmouth and Fareham areas.
At Portsmouth Harbour station, engineers will renew 1094m of track across four platforms at the station. The work will involve replacing jointed rails, examining rails, fixing baseplates to track and installing sleepers which will extend the life expectancy of the track for a further 20 years meaning less maintenance will be needed.
While the railway in Portsmouth is closed, engineers will also refurbish 592m of rail at Vernon Bridge. The work involves replacing jointed rails as well as renewing wheel timbers – the heavy wooden blocks which support the track on Portsmouth’s iconic Landport viaduct.
In the Fareham area, engineers will replace sleepers and ballast (track stones) as well as renew 600m of jointed curved rail to provide customers with smoother journeys.
Engineers will also continue upgrading the signalling system between St Denys and Swanwick as part of the wider Southampton Area Life Extension programme which will see over 12,000m of signalling cables installed to bring the system up to modern standards and extend it’s life by a further 50 years, meaning fewer faults and delays.
Extra work includes upgrades to switches and crossings (sections of track that help trains move from one side to another) and clearing trees and shrubs.
During the closure, from Monday 12 to Friday 16 February, there will be the following changes to services:
Great Western Railway (GWR)
- Buses will replace trains between Southampton Central and Portsmouth Harbour.
South Western Railway (SWR)
Trains between Portsmouth Harbour and London Waterloo will start / terminate at either Eastleigh or Portsmouth & Southsea.
Rail replacement buses will run between:
- Eastleigh and Portsmouth Harbour
- Southampton Central and Portsmouth Harbour
- Portsmouth & Southsea and Portsmouth Harbour
Buses will replace trains between:
- Southampton Central and Havant
- Portsmouth & Southsea and Portsmouth Harbour
Jeff Rose, Network Rail's blockade programme manager, said: “We're very sorry for any inconvenience our works will cause to the thousands of customers who use this important stretch of line and live between Portsmouth and Southampton. The decision to close the railway is never taken lightly, however we have chosen the February half term to minimise disruption to as many people as possible.
“These works are essential to maintaining and improving railway reliability in the Portsmouth and Fareham areas and will help keep the railway safe. We know that by completing these works now, our customers will benefit for years to come and we'd like to thank them for their patience while we carry out these vital reliability upgrades."
Peter Williams, South Western Railway's customer and commercial director, said: “We’re sorry for the disruption that these closures will cause, however, it is important that our colleagues at Network Rail complete these improvements.
“Customers should check carefully before travelling as these closures affect both the route to Portsmouth via Eastleigh and the route to Portsmouth from Southampton Central. Buses will replace trains and customers should allow extra time to complete their journeys."
Jenny Saunders, Govia Thameslink Railway's customer services director, commented: "I'm sorry this work will severely affect our Southern customers on the route west of Havant and in the Portsmouth & Southsea to Portsmouth Harbour areas.
"We'll do everything possible to keep people moving through rail replacement buses but journeys will take much longer and I'd urge you to plan ahead at nationalrail.co.uk and allow plenty of extra time."
Passengers / community members
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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.