Network Rail

Multi-million pound project to upgrade 1980’s railway means no trains through Horsham for 9 days next summer

Network Rail engineers will be rebuilding a crucial section of West Sussex’s railway next year, including a nine day period when there will be no trains at all through Horsham.

From Saturday 14 to Sunday 22 August 2021, no trains will run along much of the Arun Valley line, from Arundel to Three Bridges including Horsham and Crawley, and the Mole Valley line between Horsham and Dorking. Additionally, there will be two weekends of engineering closures on the 24 and 25 July and 31 July and 1 August 2021. Passengers are advised to plan ahead for this major work in 2021.

This investment will be used to replace 1980s track and infrastructure, with new, more reliable equipment that will improve journeys for customers on the two routes, as well as the wider region by reducing delays.

The work will be carried out over nine consecutive days and two weekends in summer 2021, significantly reducing the overall disruption to passengers when compared with original plans for several bank holiday closures, supported by a long series of weekend closures over two to three years.

The closures have been carefully planned for the summer holidays, when passenger numbers are lower and some people may be able to be more flexible with their travel plans or take holiday. The work has been timed to avoid disrupting Brighton Pride 2021 at the start of August.

Passengers wishing to travel on these dates will need to allow considerably more time for their journeys and should expect to use either diverted trains via longer routes or a replacement bus or coach to connect with rail services. Services on longer distance coastal journeys to Chichester, Littlehampton, Bognor Regis and Portsmouth will still be running, but journeys will take longer.

Network Rail Southern Region Investment Director Paul Harwood said: “We never take the decision to close the railway for extended periods lightly and would like to thank passengers for their patience as we work to address historic underinvestment in the region’s railway and enhance the capability of the line.

“This investment was originally planned for several bank holiday closures, supported by a long series of weekend closures over two to three years. By doing the work over nine consecutive days and two weekends, the overall disruption to passengers can be significantly reduced, while fast-tracking the delivery of the reliability, safety and capacity benefits of the project.

“Recognising the importance of the railway to the leisure industry we’ll ensure that alternative routes are fully open on these dates, and we’ve timed the work to avoid Brighton Pride.

“Over the next year, we will continue to work closely with Southern, Thameslink and South Western Railway colleagues, as well as local stakeholders to ensure passengers are made aware of the changes to their journeys and the alternative options to keep them moving.”

Govia Thameslink Railway Infrastructure Director Keith Jipps said: “Network Rail’s work is essential for creating the punctual and reliable railway that our customers deserve.

“We’ll be working to ensure that people have as many alternatives as possible, and these will be shared in good time, but passengers should be aware that journeys will be significantly longer while the work goes on.”

What work is taking place?

  • The work over the engineering closures in summer 2021 will help facilitate enhanced reliability and safety, minimising disruption to passengers.
  • It will involve the complete renewal of 9 sets of old switches and crossings, the movable sections of track that guide trains from one track to another and allow them to cross paths. The existing equipment has been in place since the 1980s, is old and unreliable and needs to be replaced. The new, more reliable equipment will reduce faults and delays to passengers.
  • A section of rail, sleepers and ballast will be renewed, and track drainage replaced at Horsham station. The upgraded track will give passengers smoother, more reliable journeys, while the drainage improvements will maintain track quality for the long-term.
  • Enabling work for the upgrade of Parsonage Road level crossing to a full barrier CCTV crossing to improve safety, and recontrol of Littlehaven signal box to the Three Bridges Rail Operating Centre (ROC) in March 2022.
  • To give passengers additional benefits Network Rail and train operators are looking at options to refurbish stations when they are closed.

Key dates

  • Saturday 14 August 2021 to Sunday 22 August 2021 (inclusive) – Nine-day closure affecting all trains via Horsham.
  • Saturday 24 July 2021 and Sunday 25 July 2021 – Two-day closure affecting all trains via Horsham.
  • Saturday 31 July 2021 and Sunday 1 August 2021 – Two-day closure affecting all trains via Horsham.

Customers can find out more about the project at www.networkrail.co.uk/ArunValley. The site will also be updated with detailed travel advice when alternative travel options are published.

Photo credit: Network Rail


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