Rail disruption warning for May Bank Holidays

South East rail passengers urged to check before travelling ahead of May bank holiday
South East rail passengers urged to check before travelling ahead of May bank holiday

Rail passengers aiming to travel over the two May Bank Holiday weekends are being advised to plan their journeys well in advance.

Network Rail will be working on more than 822 projects nationwide over the period as part of the Railway Upgrade Plan.

In the South East, more than 1,500 engineers will be working round the clock from May 6-8 and May 26-28 on a range of projects to boost reliability and safety on busy commuter routes.

The major investment projects this May include:

- Track upgrades between Redhill, Gatwick and Three Bridges on the Brighton Main Line and through Sevenoaks tunnel in Kent, providing smoother, more reliable journeys

- Major bridge reconstructions and in south east London to replace outdated Victorian structures

- Upgrades to the third-rail power supply in the Brighton area

- Moving signalling control of the railway in the Lewisham and Hither Green areas to Network Rail’s modern Rail Operating Centre at Three Bridges.

As a result, there will be changes to Thameslink, Southern, Gatwick Express, London Overground and Southeastern services over the long weekends, with diversions and rail replacement buses on some routes.

John Halsall, Network Rail’s South East route managing director, said: “The railway in the South East is the busiest in the country, delivering hundreds of thousands of people to and from work each day and helping support and drive the region’s economy. Because our lines are so busy, we have to carry out a more intensive programme of work than other areas to keep people moving safely and reliably – which is what we’re doing this May bank holiday weekend.

“The work we do really is essential to keeping people and goods moving in the South East and bank holidays are a quieter time, meaning we’re able to keep disruption to passengers to a minimum. There will still be some changes to services, so please do check before you travel.”

Nick Brown, Chief Operating Officer at Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs Thameslink, Southern and Gatwick Express, said: “Many of our trains run over the most congested route in the country where passenger numbers have doubled in as little as 12 years and this work is an essential part of the modernisation programme to improve reliability and punctuality for our passengers.”

Ellie Burrows, Southeastern’s Train Services Director, said: “Work to improve our railway continues this May bank holiday and, working together in partnership with Network Rail, we’re investing to deliver the essential maintenance and upgrades that we need for a more modern, more reliable railway in London and the South East. I’d encourage all our passengers to plan ahead and check before they travel by following us on Twitter @SE_railway, or checking our On Track app or website for the latest information.”

A breakdown of how some journeys will be affected can be found by visiting nationalrail.co.uk/May and following #MayBHWorks on Twitter.

Reminder: Major timetable changes from 20 May 2018

Passengers are also urged to check the new timetables now available ahead of major changes which come into effect from May 20. The new timetable will enable an additional 40,000 passengers to be carried at the busiest times of day and will see changes to all Southern and Thameslink services as well as some Southeastern services.

The timetable change in May is part of the Government-sponsored £7bn Thameslink Programme.

This ambitious 10-year programme is delivering new trains, new systems, better stations and a new timetable to increase capacity, reduce crowding and provide new journey opportunities, transforming journeys across London and the wider South East.

Southern and Thameslink passengers can find more information at www.railplan2020.com.

Southern passengers are advised to check www.southeasternrailway.co.uk and follow @SE_Railway on Twitter using #timesarechanging.