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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Bank holiday to see improvement work begin on Wessex route

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From Saturday 4 to Monday 6 May customers are being reminded to check before travelling as buses replace trains across part of Network Rail’s Wessex route.

Over the bank holiday weekend Network Rail’s engineers will be removing life-expired track and installing around half a mile of new track at Wallers Ash between Winchester and Micheldever, creating smoother and quieter journeys for passengers and nearby residents.

Maintenance teams will take advantage of this closure to do some spring cleaning, clearing out the gutters and canopies at Winchester and Eastleigh stations and clearing overgrown vegetation near Chandler’s Ford.

Throughout the three-day weekend closure, buses will replace South Western Railway (SWR) services from Basingstoke to Eastleigh, extending from Eastleigh to Fareham, Southampton Central and Romsey on Sunday only.

During the bank holiday, engineers will also be working at Aldershot Junction, renewing the 170m of switches and crossings – the equipment which allow trains to change from one track to another and installing 1.8km of new track. These improvements will mean a more reliable junction which connects trains from Reading, Wokingham and Guildford.

Finally, Network Rail’s teams will also be replacing the surface of Smith’s Level Crossing, south of Wokingham. The old timber surface will be replaced with a weatherproof surface, reducing the amount of maintenance needed due to wear and tear of vehicles using the crossing.

The work taking place across the network means that some trains will be replaced by buses, and journeys may take longer.

Martin Shirley, Network Rail project manager, said: “Thanks to our passengers for their patience whilst we carry out essential engineering work over the early May Bank Holiday weekend. We try to carry out our works during the least disruptive times, and bank holidays is when fewer passengers travel.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes, most of our route will remain open as usual, but some services will be affected so we’re asking passengers to plan ahead and check before they travel.”

A spokesperson for South Western Railway commented: “Ahead of the early May Bank Holiday we’re asking our customers to check before they travel. Buses will replace trains in the Aldershot, Reading, Salisbury and Winchester areas, and so some journeys will take longer than usual. We’re very grateful for our customers’ patience while our colleagues at Network Rail carry out these vital improvements.”

Image credit: Network Rail

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