GTR timetable chaos forces postponement of Brighton line blockade

NETWORK Rail has cancelled a nine-day blockade of the Brighton Main Line planned for October, deferring much of the work until February 2019.

NR had agreed with Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which operates Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express services, to close the route between Three Bridges and Brighton and Three Bridges and Lewes for two nine-day periods, which would have coincided with the October 2018 and February 2019 school half-terms.

The current disruption to GTR services across southern England has forced the postponement of October’s planned engineering blockade on the Brighton Main Line. Work will now be rescheduled across 15 weekend closures, a nine-day blockade in February and into Network Rail’s next Control Period, which starts in April 2019. Here, a trio of Southern Class 377s crosses Balcombe Viaduct on May 27, 2011. KEITH DUNGATE

However, most of the work will now be carried out in a single nine-day blockade from February 16-24, 2019 and 15 previously announced weekend closures between September and May.

Some elements of the work will also be deferred until NR’s next five-year funding period (CP6), starting in April 2019.

The project is part of a £300million programme of work to improve reliability and resilience.

The decision was taken after consultation with the Department for Transport and GTR in response to the on-going timetable chaos in southern England after the May timetable change, which has severely disrupted GTR’s Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express services.

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