Brighton Mainline Improvement Project - Projects, Worksites and Locations - Forum

Brighton Mainline Improvement Project

This weekend marked the start of the first main phase of the Brighton Mainline Improvement Project, after an initial Sunday possession for preliminary work back in July. Originally this was scheduled to comprise two 10 day possessions of all lines from Three Bridges to Brighton/Lewes in the October 2018 and February 2019 Half Term weeks. This blockade approach was originally justified as saving 84 successive weekend possessions. However, in July the October blockade was dropped, apparently due to the disruption BML commuters had encountered due to the Thameslink timetable change fiasco.

Instead, commencing on Saturday (and surprisingly trains ran yesterday), a series of weekend possessions are now scheduled comprising closures every weekend in October, and three weekends in November. The February blockade is still scheduled.

There is considerable publicity included a dedicated website and Twitter account, plus a poster campaign featuring a Seagull in full PPE!

From what I can deduce, considerable works are to be undertaken to improve reliability. These I believe include:

i). Replacement of Balcombe Tunnel North Junction;

ii). Repairs to track, signalling and infrastructure in Balcombe Tunnel. The latter is particularly problematic as part of the tunnel lining has I understand, failed, resulting in units having muddy water streaked down them having passed through the tunnel following rainfall;

iii). High Output Ballast Cleaning at various locations;

iv). Track replacement, power supply improvements and re-signalling at Clayton Tunnel;

v). Replacement of Preston Park Junction. Interestingly this appears to potentially include re-modelling as opposed to like for like renewal.

In preparation for this work, LWR was dropped the week before last from a point inside Clayton Tunnel to just north of the A273 overbridge on the up line, whilst Conductor rail has been dropped from Keymer Junction to south of Burgess Hill on the down line, and it appears from Balcombe to Balcombe Tunnel on both up and down lines as well.

The work this weekend comprised the HOBC from Sevington working at Balcombe station, work on the on-going Southern Power Supply programme at various locations south of Haywards Heath (using the entire Sonic Rail fleet including brand new 910137 straight from GOS) and seeing what I believe was the debut of Lundy Projects machines in Sussex, being used for piling of signal bases inside Clayton Tunnel.

As this is right on my doorstep, I will keep a close eye on things - much to the annoyance of my Wife no doubt!

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