A new signalling centre which will control large parts of the region’s rail network has been officially opened in Three Bridges.
Crawley MP Henry Smith was joined by representatives from Network Rail, Southern and Crawley Borough Council to formally open the state-of-the-art rail operating centre earlier today (January 7).
The centre, which was constructed by a contractor on behalf of Network Rail, is one of 12 centres which will eventually operate the entire rail network across Britain.
Eventually the centre will control the Brighton main line, from London Victoria and London Bridge to Brighton and the south coast and large areas either side.
Mr Smith said: “I’m proud that Crawley is the new home of rail control for much of south east England.
“Modernising the railway by making the signalling more efficient and reliable, in addition to integrating Network Rail’s control centre to work more closely with Southern to resolve delays more quickly, will really help to improve the passenger experience.
“This investment in Three Bridges represents a significant enhancement for the travelling public and a real boost to the local economy.”
The 12 new centres will replace more than 800 signal boxes and other operational locations currently used to control trains.
They will have more advanced signalling tools and technology that will help reduce delays, increase capacity and provide better information to passengers.
Tim Robinson, Network Rail’s route managing director for Sussex, said: “This new rail operating centre, and the nearby new Thameslink depot currently under construction, means that Three Bridges will be one of the most important places on the railway map in the south east.
“When fully operational, it will help to boost performance, increase capacity and provide a better level of service to passengers during periods of disruption.
“As well as helping to create a better railway, it will also help boost the local economy as several hundred jobs will be relocated to the town, giving a vital boost for local shops and amenities.”