There are just three days to go until the southern end of the Brighton Main Line shuts for nine days during the school half term as work on a vital £67 million upgrade continues.
Up to 300,000 Southern and Thameslink passengers a day will benefit in the long-run as Network Rail carries out the biggest refurbishment of the line between Three Bridges and Brighton in more than 30 years.
Commuters using the Uckfield line are expecting an increase of passengers during the disruption.
The work will renew and upgrade track junctions and signalling, shore up embankments to reduce the risk of landslides and introduce new technology that not only detects potential problems before they occur, but can help the railway recover faster if there is a fault.
There is also extensive work within four Victorian tunnels to stop leaks and drainage issues, which have caused significant delays for passengers in the past.
In a special passenger survey monitoring the quality of information for this scheme, independent watchdog Transport Focus said awareness of the closure remains high, while three quarters of passengers are considering alternative travel arrangements thanks to the travel advice tool at BrightonMainLine.co.uk and via www.nationalrail.co.uk.
Rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is diverting what services it can and laying on a massive rail replacement bus service, unprecedented in scale [see editor’s notes] to keep passengers moving.
This is supported by the temporary conversion of the Three Bridges station car park into a bespoke bus hub, equipped with toilets, a customer information point, refreshments and extra staff on hand to help passengers.
There will be more closures on March 2, 3 23,24, 39 and 31st. April 6 and 7 and May 5th.
Together, Network Rail and GTR are making the most of the time the stations are closed by investing £800,000 into essential maintenance and repairs at Balcombe, Haywards Heath, Wivelsfield, Burgess Hill, Hassocks, Preston Park, Plumpton and Cooksbridge.