The railway through Horsham has reopened after work was carried out as part of a £22 million investment.
Overall, more than 40 miles of railway was closed, from 14 August until 22 August, for a range of upgrades and maintenance across over 120 different sites.
During this time, buses replaced trains between Arundel, Horsham, Crawley and Dorking.
The largest part of the project was rebuilding the railway junction at Horsham. There, nine sets of points were replaced.
Additionally, 14 signal heads were replaced between Horsham and Crawley, the train detection system was upgraded in the same area, and earthworks protected at Ockley. Stations were deep-cleaned and decorated at Crawley, Ifield, Faygate, Littlehaven, Holmwood, Ockley, Horsham, Christ’s Hospital, Billingshurst, Pulborough, Amberley, Arundel and Warnham.
Meanwhile, Platform 2 at Littlehaven was extended to cater for 12-car trains. This was to speed up journeys as passengers board and alight longer trains more easily. Network Rail says efficiencies gained from delivering work over an extended nine-day line closure supported the investment case for the platform extension, which received funding of £1.9 million from the Department for Transport. This new capability will come into use next year once trackside equipment associated with Parsonage Road level crossing is removed.
Network Rail Sussex route director Shaun King said: “This project was actually a series of many different jobs, spread out across the railway from stations, to track, to signals and earthworks.
“Through it all, passengers have been really understanding and patient with us as we know they would rather have been on trains and not buses.
“I know it was a big ask of them but by combining all this work in one 9-day package, we saved 15 weekends, or 30 days of disruption compared to doing it in the traditional way.
“We’ve also been able to use the efficiencies from this approach to build the business case for the extension of platform 2 at Littlehaven, a significant safety and passenger benefit we wouldn’t have been able to deliver using weekend and overnight working.”
Southern’s customer services director Chris Fowler said: “We’re grateful to our Arun Valley line customers for putting up with the inconvenience of longer journeys and replacement buses over the past nine days. It has allowed Network Rail to accomplish a huge amount and range of improvements to give customers a better travel experience in the years ahead.
“The extensive refurbishment of all the station buildings complements the new facilities we’ve installed as part of our network-wide improvement programme. Most Arun Valley stations now have more seats and shelters, and some have enhanced information screens, cycle parking or landscaping.”