Network Rail has announced that it will be installing a mile of new track on the Botley line in Hampshire over a seven-day period during the May Half Term.
Between Saturday 23 and Saturday 29 May, Network Rail engineers will be installing 1400 metres of new track on the line from Fareham to Eastleigh.
New track will be installed at Tapnage tunnel between Fareham and Botley. This will require the use of a specialist New Track Construction train which uses an automated process to quickly lay sleepers and align rails.
To minimise disruption, engineers will work around the clock over a seven-day closure, rather than closing the line for a number of weekends.
During those seven days, there will be no trains between Fareham and Eastleigh. Buses will replace South Western Railway (SWR) trains calling at Eastleigh, Hedge End, Botley and Fareham. Great Western Railway (GWR) services will be diverted via Netley whilst Southern services will be diverted via Swanwick.
What did the officials say?
Mark Killick, Network Rail Wessex route director, said:
“We know there’s never a good time to close the railway; a seven day closure during the May half term, when it’s typically quieter, means we can minimise disruption to passengers. The alternative would be many weekend closures over a much longer period.
“Due to its location this will be a challenging track renewal project; once complete, it will provide passengers with a more reliable railway and better performing train journeys.”
Alan Penlington, Customer Experience Director for South Western Railway, said:
“Whilst these works will be disruptive for our customers, they are crucial for improving our network’s infrastructure resulting in a more reliable railway.
“Replacement buses will be in operation between Fareham and Eastleigh, so I would encourage our customers to check their journey before they travel.”
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