Network Rail reopen line as Portsmouth Direct Upgrade scheme continues

Network Rail reopen line as Portsmouth Direct Upgrade scheme continues

Network Rail has reopened the Guildford to Petersfield line after completing 15 engineering projects in just five days.

Working across multiple work sites within the five day stretch, engineers were able to carry out the engineering works quicker, avoiding disruptive closures over a period of months.

New power cables and signalling were installed between Farncombe and Petersfield to ensure that the new state-of-the-art digital signalling system can be installed in 2024.

The work included stabilising the cuttings at Haslemere and Wormley which saw on track machines with drilling attachments drill 138 8-metre-long steel nails into the cutting slope. This process strengthened and reinforced the soil reducing the likelihood of landslips.

Tom McNamee, Network Rail’s Wessex infrastructure director, said:I'm delighted that we’ve successfully completed another phase of work that is part of the Portsmouth Direct Upgrade programme. Our teams have completed an amazing amount of engineering work during a 5-day period, which will improve reliability on the railway for thousands of customers.

Switches and crossings were also upgraded and refurbished in areas at Haslemere, which will allow trains to cross and change tracks and Liss train station also had tracks refurbished, again to prepare for future digital upgrades next year.

Work on the Portsmouth Direct line upgrade has been happening since 2022. These have included renewing and upgrading level crossings across multiple locations on the line and a nine-day closure last year to install new signalling and under-track crossings alongside further track maintenance.

Peter Williams, South Western Railway's customer and commercial director, said: “I’d like to thank our customers for their patience while Network Rail carried out this important work, which will soon deliver an improved and more reliable railway on the busy route between Woking and Portsmouth Harbour.”

The next line closure is scheduled for 21-29 October, where the railway will be closed between Guildford and Petersfield, extending to Havant on 29 October only. This will allow Network Rail to continue work to modernise the railway so that it is more reliable for customers.

Photo Credit: Network Rail

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