Network Rail engineers gear up for bank holiday work on London-Sussex main line

Network Rail’s £160m improvement project to improve signalling between London Victoria and East Croydon tales another step forward this Easter with new track and points being put in place at Clapham Junction.

The work means no trains will run between Victoria and East Croydon for the four days of the Easter Bank Holiday, with most trains diverted to London Bridge. Some services will run between Balham and East Croydon.

Gatwick Express services will not run; customers are advised to use Southern or Thameslink services between London Bridge and Gatwick Airport.

Video: Network Rail Southern region blockade director Tom McNamee explains why we’re working this Easter

The work means no trains will run between Victoria and East Croydon for the four days of the Easter Bank Holiday, with most trains diverted to London Bridge. Some services will run between Balham and East Croydon.

Gatwick Express services will not run; customers are advised to use Southern or Thameslink services between London Bridge and Gatwick Airport.

Network Rail’s route director for Sussex, Katie Frost, said: “I realise this stretch of track seems to be closed a lot lately – but there’s a good reason for that. Major investment always means there is a degree of disruption while the work is done and we are midway through that process now. The importance of the East Croydon to Victoria route with commuters means it’s a tough one for us to close outside of weekends and holidays, so this is the least-worst option for everyone.

“However, the equipment we are installing will be more reliable and the project will also reduce everyday delays through new designs of track and signalling.”

Southern’s Customer Services Director Chris Fowler said: “Network Rail have worked closely with us to time this vital modernisation for the least possible inconvenience to our customers. Tickets will be accepted on relevant Tube and bus services between Victoria, Clapham and Balham, and on the Tube between Victoria and London Bridge. We’ve also arranged replacement buses between Clapham Junction and either Balham or East Croydon, as required, for local journeys in south London. Other Southern routes will be affected, including Brighton services, so we urge customers to check details and plan their journeys in advance.”

Points, which allow trains to move from one track to another, need to move back and forth reliably 100s of times a day in locations like Clapham, and replacing them with new equipment is a sure way to improve reliability and punctuality. Three crossovers – six point-ends – will be replaced this Easter, just to the east of Clapham Junction.

The resignalling scheme, which will complete in Christmas this year, will see all the 1970s-era signalling replaced with modern LED equivalents, along with a new control system, train detection, new points and even some new track too. Control will move from the 1970s Victoria control centre to Network Rail’s state of the art Three Bridges route operating centre.

Photo credit: Network Rail

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