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Work starts next month on key commuter line between London Waterloo and Portsmouth

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From Sunday 21 to Saturday 28 October, the railway between Guildford and Petersfield will be closed, extending to Havant on Sunday 29 October only, with buses replacing trains.

From Sunday 21 to Sunday 29 October, Network Rail engineers will begin around-the-clock-working to update the 1970s signalling equipment between Farncombe and Petersfield, as part of the wider Portsmouth Direct Upgrade programme.

Once complete, in October 2024, the Portsmouth Direct Upgrade will see signalling, track, and level crossings on the line from Woking to Portsmouth Harbour upgraded. This will help improve reliability and safer level crossings, reduce journey times, and open up the potential for more train services in the future.

During next month’s line closure, Network Rail’s engineers will be completing a range of work including installing signal piles, new signal posts, new signal gantries either end of Haslemere station, laying power cables at Princess Bridge, constructing a signalling equipment building, as well as upgrades to level crossings between Farncombe East and Liss.

Engineers will also be taking the opportunity to complete other vital work to support the continued safe and smooth running of the railway. This includes stabilising the cuttings at Haslemere and Wormley to reduce the risk of vegetation debris falling onto the track, track maintenance work in Haslemere, refreshing the station canopies at Farncombe station, brickwork repairs in Guildford tunnel and vegetation management along the line.

Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex route director, said: “Next month our engineers will continue key upgrades to track, signalling and level crossings between Farncombe and Petersfield, as part of our wider Portsmouth Direct Upgrade.

“This work is crucial to improving the reliability of the railway for customers travelling between Portsmouth and London Waterloo and will help reduce journey times as well as provide the opportunity to increase the number of service in the future.

“There is never a good time to close the railway but our engineers will be making use of every minute to complete a wide range of work and we’re grateful to customers for their patience and understanding during this time.”

Image credit: Network Rail

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