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Passengers to benefit from £80m rail investment in the Brighton main line

The railway between London and Brighton has been significantly upgraded over Christmas and the New Year thanks to an £80m package of improvements completed by Network Rail.

More than 150 railway workers and engineers worked round the clock between Christmas Day and Thursday 2 January to upgrade the railway at Gatwick Airport, London Victoria station and a major junction between Redhill and Purley.

Upgrading the Brighton Main Line - Christmas 2013

The investment will deliver long-term benefits to passengers which include a more reliable infrastructure, which will help to reduce disruption, and an additional platform at Gatwick Airport which will provide greater flexibility for services calling at the station from February 2014.

Tim Robinson, Network Rail’s route managing director for the Sussex route, said: “These three significant upgrades are part of our commitment to deliver a safer, more efficient and reliable railway which meets the increasing demands placed on it by a growing number of passengers.

“The three complex and challenging pieces of work were carried out simultaneously, which helped to minimise the level of disruption to passengers. After many months of meticulous planning, and the hard work and dedication of our staff during some fairly atrocious weather conditions, the railway was upgraded and reopened on time as planned.

“I would like to thank passengers for their patience while we completed this essential work and can assure them that we will continue to work with our partners and invest in the Sussex route to provide passengers with an ever improving service.”

Upgrading the Brighton Main Line - Christmas 2013

Adrian Witherow, head of terminals at London Gatwick, said: “Passengers are our number one priority and we have worked closely with the train operating companies and Network Rail to help minimise any disruption to travellers over the festive period. The upgrades will make for a much improved passenger experience – for both arriving and departing travellers who will be using rail services.”

David Scorey, Southern’s operations director, said: “We would like to thank our passengers for their patience and understanding while these vital improvements took place over the festive period. which has much improved the infrastructure on key areas of the Brighton Main Line, which we expect will help to deliver performance improvements in the future”

Keith Jipps, First Capital Connect's customer service director, said: "This work had a major impact on our services, adding up to 90 minutes to passengers' journeys. I'm delighted it has been completed successfully and really pleased by how we've worked together as an industry to make sure we warned people in good time."

The improvements at the three locations included:

  • A new platform and associated track and signalling work at Gatwick Airport station which will provide greater flexibility for train services calling at the station which has potential to reduce delays caused by congestion on this busy line. Around 1300m of track was laid, a 50m long footbridge was renewed and a 250m long new platform, complete with a new lift, escalators and high-level walkway to the station, was completed. The new platform will become operational in February.
  • A major junction replacement between Redhill and Purley (Stoats Nest junction) which has removed the need for speed restrictions and increased the reliability of the infrastructure. Replacing Stoats Nest junction was a huge engineering challenge. A total of 16 separate switches and crossings were replaced which, if they were laid end to end, would be around one mile long. More than 350 separate welds were used to complete the work. Around 7,770 tonnes of spoil were removed and replaced using 21 trains to transport the material.
  • New signalling between London Victoria and Battersea, building on previous work carried out by Network Rail to upgrade the infrastructure and provide a more reliable service. Work took place at more than 70 separate locations and 12 new signals were installed.
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