New track and points are to be installed at two key junctions, Hayward’s Heath, just south of the station, and Keymer Junction, where the lines from Lewes join the Brighton Main Line.
The track in those areas is 40 years old and is the cause of delays and speed restrictions. This investment will reduce on-going maintenance and, ultimately, disruption for passengers in the long-run.
The work started on Sunday 28 September and then on four weekends in October and November, with buses replacing trains between Brighton / Lewes and Three Bridges. An intensive, timetabled bus service for Southern and Thameslink passengers is planned to keep people moving as the vital upgrade takes place.
Network Rail’s route managing director, Dave Ward, said: “We know that people want to travel by train and not a bus, but this railway carries a huge amount of traffic and we have to keep it in top condition so it can continue to run.
“I’d like to thank passengers in advance for bearing with us this autumn as it will mean some changes to their travel plans.”
There will be a Bedford-Haywards Heath Thameslink train service on October 18 only, but passengers for Brighton should still change at Three Bridges.
Drainage work will also be carried out in Hayward’s Heath Tunnel, to improve the reliability of the railway through the tunnel – the site of some serious delays on Tuesday this week. A new footbridge will be installed to replace a closed foot crossing near Balcombe.
Meanwhile, signalling engineers will be continuing with a project to install bi-directional signalling – which allows trains to run in either direction on each track – in the Balcombe area, to bring greater flexibility and reliability to the Brighton Main Line.
(Source: Network Rail)