Rail engineering works scheduled for the May bank holiday weekend have been critised by Brighton environmentalists, who accuse Network Rail of putting their own convenience above the city’s.
Two days of engineering works have been scheduled for Sunday, May 6 and Monday, May 7 – the first weekend of the Brighton Festival – during which there will be no direct trains to or from London or Gatwick.
Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth is calling for a campaign to get services reinstate and the works rescheduled, saying this is one of the most important times for the city’s economy.
Chris Todd of BHFOE said: “The May Bank holiday weekend is one of the busiest in the calendar. Apart from being a popular time for people to visit the city, it’s also the start of the Brighton Festival.
“We already have a problem with too many people driving into the city. We need Network Rail and rail operators to be increasing services, not bringing the city to a grinding halt.
“Disrupting rail services and reducing capacity shows how out of touch and unaccountable they think they are. Unfortunately, it’s not the first time that Network Rail has done this.
“It’s about time Network Rail was held to account locally. The Government needs to wake up to the shocking way coastal communities are being treated.
“Is it any wonder that we are failing to reduce carbon emissions and air pollution from transport sufficiently quickly when the people in charge are behaving like this?”
A spokesman for Network Rail said: “We are acutely aware of the pressure on the Brighton Main Line, with huge numbers of trains and passengers every day.
“There is no good time to work on the line, especially when that work is going to take more than a day or overnight. By undertaking this work on a Bank Holiday weekend, we can keep the railway open on the Saturday and avoid closing the line for a complete weekend at a later date.
“There is never a quiet time on that railway and by doing this work we can keep trains running reliably for the future.”
The works are to replace sets of points in the Gatwick area, along with standard track renewals, and there will literally be no track outside Gatwick while they are carried out.
Network Rail says the work takes two days, and if it scheduled it for a normal weekend, it would mean closing the line for the whole weekend.
And it says a week’s closure required for major works to Balcombe Tunnel has been scheduled for October to avoid closing the line over several weekends.
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.