Train bosses today warned passengers that stretches of the West Coastway line are due to close for nine days over the half-term holiday next month.
Network Rail urged passengers planning to go any further west than Barnham – to stations such as Chichester, Portsmouth and Southampton – to expect longer journey times.
The line is to close between Barnham and Havant as part of a multimillion-pound upgrade, the track operator said, although trains are expected to run as far as Chichester on week days.
It plans to lay almost a mile and a half of new track – or 2.3km – and carry out work at several level crossings.
Network Rail said that the work would involve closing the line over nine days during the autumn half-term holiday as well as on the next two Sundays and for a full weekend.
The planned dates for work are
- Saturday 26 October to Sunday 3 November inclusive
- Sunday 10 November
- Sunday 17 November
- Saturday 30 November and Sunday 1 December
Paul Harwood, Network Rail Southern investment director, said: “Our information campaign has been under way for several weeks but we will be stepping this up even more between now and the closure dates.
“We want to ensure that passengers are aware of the work and of the alternative transport arrangements which will be in place.
“We are working closely with the train operators, local councils and businesses to ensure that people are aware of the work and of the alternative transport arrangements which will be in place.
“Opting for this closure is the most efficient and least disruptive approach. The alternative would be many weekends of disruption.
“Once complete the work will improve the reliability of rail services on the line reducing delays for passengers.”
From Monday 28 October to Friday 1 November 2019, buses will replace trains between Chichester and Havant, with journeys expected to take longer than usual.
On the weekend dates, the line between Barnham and Havant will be closed, with buses replacing trains between those stations on each date affected.
As a result of work on the level crossings, drivers can expect diversions on some local roads.
Network Rail added: “Throughout the work there will be no Southern trains west of Havant to Portsmouth or Southampton.
“Great Western Railway services to and from Brighton will run to and from Portsmouth instead.
“Trains to London will still run from Havant (to London Waterloo via South Western Railway) and Bognor Regis (via Southern).
“During the week days, trains to London will also run from Chichester (via Southern).”
Keith Jipps, infrastructure director at train operator Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), said: “Our Southern services will be significantly affected by this vital work to improve reliability and passengers should check ahead and allow longer for their journeys.”