The Brighton Main Line Improvement Project

Line closures: Saturday 16 – Sunday 24 February 2019 plus several weekends.
There will be changes to services during this time - so don’t get caught out, plan ahead.

Please select your home station:

Line closures:

For nine days, between Saturday 16 and Sunday 24 February 2019, the lines will be closed between:

  • Three Bridges and Brighton
  • Three Bridges and Lewes

There will also be closures on certain weekends as shown below:

The Brighton Main Line Improvement Project

Note: Sunday 5 May (closure is early morning between 1.20-9.30am)

This will mean changes to train services across the Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink networks and significantly longer journey times for some passengers. No trains will serve the following stations:
Balcombe, Haywards Heath, Wivelsfield, Burgess Hill, Hassocks, Preston Park, Plumpton & Cooksbridge

The only trains between Three Bridges and Brighton, Hove or Worthing will be diverted via Horsham and Littlehampton and take up to 60 minutes longer. There will also be no direct trains between London and Lewes or Eastbourne. Services on some routes will be busier. The map below shows the general service arrangements.

BML works bus map

What is the travel advice?

If you do wish to travel, we will ensure that you can, but please note you will need to allow extra time for your journey.

Advice will vary depending on the journey you are making as shown below. If you are travelling on affected routes:

  • Consider working at home if possible
  • Consider travelling outside of peak time and allowing more time to travel
  • Note that non-folding cycles cannot be carried on replacement buses
  • If you require assistance, please book in advance
  • Unless detailed below, please plan your journey by visiting nationalrail.co.uk and using the journey planner
Has ticket acceptance been arranged?

The following ticket acceptance has been arranged to assist you on your journey:

Train services to / from London

Thameslink season tickets will be accepted on Southern services between Brighton/Littlehampton and London until end of service Friday 22 February. If you are travelling to/from Thameslink stations between London Bridge and St Pancras you will beed to change at Three Bridges or East Croydon. Tickets will not be accpeted on London Underground services or London buses.

Local buses between Three Bridges, Brighton and Lewes

Brighton & Hove buses will accept valid paper rail tickets and tickets held on Key Smartcards (but not KeyGo) on the bus services listed below:

  • Route 2 between Shoreham-by-Sea, Central Hove and Brighton Churchill Square
  • Route 5 & 5A between Preston Park, Brighton Churchill Square and Central Hove
  • Route 6 between Portslade, Central Hove, Brighton Churchill Square and Brighton
  • Route 7 between Hove and Brighton
  • Routes 12, 12A & 12X between Brighton, Newhaven, Seaford and Eastbourne
  • Route 25 between Falmer, Moulsecoomb, Brighton Churchill Square and Central Hove
  • Routes 28 & 29 between Brighton, Lewes and Uckfield
  • Route 46 between Southwick, Portslade, Central Hove, Brighton Churchill Square and London Road
  • Via any reasonable route within the Brighton City Area

Metrobus buses will accept valid paper rail tickets and tickets held on Key Smartcards (but not KeyGo) on the bus services listed below:

  • Route 10 between Crawley and Gatwick Airport
  • Route 20 between Crawley, Three Bridges, Gatwick Airport and Horley
  • Route 23 between Crawley and Horsham
  • Route 100 between Redhill, Salfords, Gatwick Airport, Crawley and Three Bridges
  • Route 200 between Horsham, Littlehaven, Ifield and Gatwick Airport
  • Routes 430 & 435 between Redhill and Earlswood

Metrobus will also accept valid rail season tickets with an origin/destination of Three Bridges on their local services between Three Bridges railway station and the neighbourhoods around Crawley, including Copthorne and Crawley Down

To plan a journey on Brighton & Hove routes visit buses.co.uk.

To plan a journey on Metrobus routes visit metrobus.co.uk.

Have you relaxed evening peak restrictions for Super Off-Peak tickets?

The time restrictions remain in place for Super Off-Peak tickets. We have a much reduced train service from Victoria and these restrictions are necessary to help manage limited capacity.

We have made reasonable arrangements for customer affected by these improvement works and reports from our teams on the ground are that these are working as planned. We have no plans to alter these arrangements at this time.

How should I plan my journey?

Please plan your journey by visiting nationalrail.co.uk using the planner. For some journeys, it may be necessary to add a “via” station to get the recommended route, details of this are listed above.

How should check my journey on the day of travel?

Information regarding any on-the-day disruption or unplanned alterations, including travel advice will be available via the following sources:

Are there any changes to car parking arrangements?

We have secured 2,800 car parking spaces at Gatwick Airport for season ticket holders and a frequent shuttle bus will operate to/from the train station. There is no charge for using this facility however it will be limited and available on a first come first serve basis by booking in advance. Please do so by emailing gatwick.parking@gtrailway.com.

Station car park How it will be affected Alternatives
Balcombe Closed 16-24 February. Season ticket holders may use Crawley, Horsham and East Grinstead stations.

Daily ticket holders may buy at any location on the day.

See above for details of special parking arrangements at Gatwick Airport for season ticket holders.

Burgess Hill Small section closed 16-24 February (London bound side). Use alternative spaces at the station.

See above for details of special parking arrangements at Gatwick Airport for season ticket holders.

Crawley Small section closed. Use alternative spaces at the station.
Hassocks Small section closed 16-24 February. Use alternative spaces at the station.

See above for details of special parking arrangements at Gatwick Airport for season
ticket holders.

Haywards Heath Small section of car park closed 16-24 February.

Multi-story car park unaffected.

Use alternative spaces at the station.

See above for details of special parking arrangements at Gatwick Airport for season
ticket holders.

Three Bridges Closed 9 February – 3 March to allow for the temporary bus station to be built. Season ticket holders can use Crawley, Horsham and East Grinstead car parks.

Daily ticket holders may buy at any location on the day.

Local Metrobus services are accepting rail tickets to Three Bridges station.

See above for details of special parking arrangements at Gatwick Airport for season
ticket holders.

Local Metrobus services are accepting season tickets with a origin or destination of Three Bridges within the Crawley area.

See above for details of special parking arrangements at Gatwick Airport for season ticket holders.

Wivelsfield Disabled car park will be closed 9-24 February due to station rebuilding work. Use alternative on-road parking or travel to an alternative station.

See above for details of special parking arrangements at Gatwick Airport for season
ticket holders.

I require travel assistance, what should I do?

Where replacement buses are running, the majority of these will be fully accessible to enable you to get to your destination. Staff will be readily available to assist you with your journey.

We recommend passengers let us know 24 hours before they plan to travel so we can be on hand to help and recommend the best route for you to take. Passengers can do this by filling in our assistance booking form online southernrailway.com or Call us on: 0800 138 1016. Textphone: 0800 138 1018 SMS Text: 07860 034 269.

Why are there no published timetables for the bus services?

Times are shown in on-line journey planners to allow you to plan your journey. We advise you to arrive at your origin station in plenty of time for the departure time to allow you to board the next available bus.

Buses will operate every few minutes on some routes; the exact times may vary depending on demand and traffic conditions on the day.

Why are there no non-stop weekday buses between Brighton and Three Bridges?

On Mondays to Fridays the number of customers travelling on the Brighton mainline makes it impractical to transport everyone using buses alone.

We have already brought in over 100 additional buses a day, compared to what we normally run at weekends, and have up to 35 buses an hour arriving at Three Bridges. If we ran non-stop buses from Brighton we would need another 40. The hub at Three Bridges and the road network would not be able to cope with 75 buses an hour and the station and trains at Three Bridges would be potentially very overcrowded.

The road congestion caused by such a large number of buses, the amount of time taken to load/unload and the road layout for large vehicles in a number of locations would lead to journeys being much longer than a normal replacement bus journey.

To provide non-stop services would also mean using our contingency buses which we need to keep in reserve for use across the network should there be any disruption, road closures or anything else that impacts the service. Alternatively we could reduce the bus service provided for stations between Preston Park and Balcombe, but we do not think this would be fair on passengers who have no rail alternative.

We recommend using the two trains per hour running between London and Brighton via the diversion route. These trains will be formed of 12 carriages. The diversion route takes approximately 60 minutes longer than normal, but less than would be the case if customers were solely moved by bus.

What if there is disruption on the diverted route for Brighton trains?

Additional work to improve the resilience of this route has recently been completed by Network Rail. Network Rail also have additional technical staff working during the blockade at key locations on the diversion route, so if anything was to go wrong they will be able to attend as quickly as possible.

We also have a number of stand-by buses available on demand if we need to respond to a problem.

Can I take my bicycle on replacement buses?

It will not be possible to take non-folding bicycles on rail replacement buses.

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