£22m upgrade which has closed West Sussex railway for 9 days will ‘massively improve reliability’
A £22m upgrade to the West Sussex railway network is underway – and the work is set to offer improved reliability for passengers.
The project – which sees the railway shut between Arundel and Three Bridges – has been planned for around 18 months.
It will replace rails and infrastructure first laid in the 1980s with new, more reliable equipment, as well as deep cleaning, refurbishing, decorating and essential maintenance of stations along the Arun Valley line.
Chris Fowler, customer services director for Southern Rail, said: “It’s a huge logistical challenge.
“We have brought in 60 additional people a day. Just to help out with customer handling.”
Twenty-four buses an hour have been laid on at peak times and 12 to 16 during off peak times to help customers travel.
And the works were scheduled for during the summer holidays when fewer people travel by rail, he added.
George Murrell, programme manager for Network Rail said power cables and signalling cables are being replaced to improve reliability for customers.
He added: “In terms of performance – failures were beginning to become more regular which did then delay trains.
“Performance in terms of making sure the railway is reliable will massively improve [with the upgrade].
“To allow our passengers to get to their destinations on time.”
Project director Tom Mcnamee, from Horsham, added: “There are 14 stations – we’re working on every station.
“Not just improvements to the track but to the stations.”
The platform at Littlehaven station is also being extended thanks to £1.8m funding from the Department for Transport.
Next year, once further work is carried out, the extension will allow passengers to depart from 12 carriages rather than the current four.
It is also hoped the work will reduce delays at the Rusper Road level crossing close to the station.