A major programme of track renewals in West Sussex next year will see Horsham closed to rail traffic for nine days in August.
During the work, 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, from Saturday 14 to Sunday 22 August 2021. In addition, there will be two weekends of engineering closures on the 24 and 25 July and 31 July and 1 August 2021.
Track and infrastructure that dates from the 1980s will be replaced by new, more reliable equipment that will improve reliability and reduce delays. The work will involve the complete renewal of nine sets of switches and crossings and a section of plain track, as well as track drainage at Horsham station.
At the same time, enabling work will be carried out for the upgrade of Parsonage Road level crossing to a full-barrier CCTV crossing and recontrol of Littlehaven signal box to the Three Bridges Rail Operating Centre (ROC), both of which are planned for March 2022.
Network Rail and train operators are also looking at options to refurbish stations while they are closed.
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.”
Govia Thameslink Railway infrastructure director Keith Jipps added: “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.”