Brighton Main Line passengers reminded to check before they travel as engineers carry out vital reliability upgrades on the track between London and the south coast

Network Rail have issued the following press release about planned engineering work on the Brighton Main Line that means there will be no trains between Purley and Gatwick Airport over the weekend of 20 and 21 January.

Network Rail and Govia Thameslink Railway are asking passengers to plan ahead and check before they travel over the weekend of Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 January as engineers are set to carry out upgrades to improve the reliability of the railway between London, Gatwick Airport, and the south coast.


Over the weekend of Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 January, Network Rail engineers will be renewing 1,500m of track, as well as sleepers, ballast (the stones that support the track) and refurbishing three sets of points (the mechanism used to switch trains between tracks) on the Brighton Main Line between Gatwick Airport and Purley, providing smoother and more reliable journeys for the 17 million passengers who travel on the Brighton Main Line every year.


The work will mean a long diversion for trains between London and Gatwick Airport, and a limited service between the Sussex coast and Three Bridges. Journeys will take considerably longer than normal, so anyone planning to use the train to catch a flight from Gatwick should allow plenty of additional time.


Travel information

There will be no through trains on the main line between London and Gatwick.

People travelling between London and Gatwick are advised to use a special diverted service of two trains per hour between London Victoria and the airport via Horsham. The journey will take around 80 minutes. Alternatively, passengers can travel by train from London Bridge to East Grinstead and use a special replacement bus service running to and from Gatwick Airport.


Only two trains per hour will run between Three Bridges and Brighton, and services towards London from Littlehampton and Eastbourne will terminate at Three Bridges.


Passengers are advised to travel via Three Bridges and use either the replacement bus service to East Grinstead, to connect with trains to London, or the diverted London train via Horsham.

For those who have to travel to or from intermediate stations between Gatwick and East Croydon, very limited replacement bus services will operate.


[Please see Notes to Editors below for detail of service changes and replacement buses.]


Lucy McAuliffe, Network Rail’s Sussex route director, said: “We’re really pleased to see further investment being made in improving the reliability of the Brighton Main Line, a key commuter route that needs constant work to keeping it running.


“Over the weekend of the 20 and 21 January, we’ll be taking all lines out of use between Gatwick and Purley to tackle a host of maintenance work, including renewing track at a major railway junction near Coulsdon.

“We understand it’s frustrating for passengers in the short term when we divert trains, but this is a rare chance for us to undertake major work on such a busy section of track that will help us run a more reliable railway in the long term.


“I really appreciate everyone’s patience and urge passengers using Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express services to plan ahead and check before they travel over the weekend.”


Jenny Saunders, customer services director for Southern and Thameslink, said: “We’re sorry for the inconvenience to passengers during Network Rail’s essential maintenance to keep this busy part of the network in good shape. While we’ve arranged alternatives to help our customers get where they need to be, several routes are affected and many journeys will take considerably longer than normal, so please check your routes and times on a journey planner, or the Southern or Thameslink website, well ahead of your journey, and allow plenty of extra time.”



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