South West London hit by nine days of railway line closures over half term

  • london
  • February 9, 2023
  • Comments Off on South West London hit by nine days of railway line closures over half term
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South Western Railway (SWR) travellers will face disruption for nine days over the February half-term as work continues on a £375 million programme to upgrade old equipment.

Passengers won’t be able to travel on direct SWR train services between London and Windsor or Reading for nine days between Saturday, February 11, to Sunday, February 19. 

They are part of an ongoing project to replace 1970s infrastructure across parts of the network. 

Main disruptions include London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour via Guildford, which will terminate at Guildford all week, and the Haslemere area closed for all nine days. 

Elsewhere, lines between Staines and Windsor will be closed between February 11 and February 17.

Buses will replace SWR services for passengers throughout the project.

Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex route director explained exactly why the closures were having to take place.

He said: ‘It’s really great to see phase three and four of this huge resignalling project taking place.

‘The current signalling system dates back to the early 1970s and during a long-term programme we’ve been modernising it to improve reliability across the Southern region. 

‘Completing this work will help prevent those incidents and will allow us to increase capacity for trains with fewer delays, improved safety and lower running costs.

‘We’d like to thank customers for their patience and bearing with us.’

The cancellations come just days after more rail strikes took place across the UK.

Christian Neill, SWR’s service delivery director, said: ‘We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by these closures, but these works are essential for the maintenance and improvement of the railway, and customers can look forward to more reliable services once this new signalling system is fully delivered. 

‘We advise customers to check before travelling and to allow extra time to complete their journeys using the rail replacement buses that will be operating.’

Passengers travelling from London Waterloo, Clapham Junction or Woking to Portsmouth have been advised to take the service from London Waterloo to Portsmouth via Eastleigh if they want to avoid the bus.

Some of the old equipment is becoming ‘harder and harder to maintain’, a Network Rail spokesperson said. 

This includes signals, the traffic light system for the railway, and track circuits, which tell signallers where trains are on the network.

They added: ‘In a long-term programme that will run through to mid-2024, we’re renewing that equipment with a modern equivalent that will be more reliable. 

‘We’ll also deliver a number of enhancements to improve train performance, as well as renew or upgrade 13 level crossings.’

You can check if your route will be disrupted here.

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