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Passengers must ‘plan ahead this Easter’ as Network Rail begins £10m improvements

There will be changes to Thameslink, Southern, London Overground and Southeastern services over the long weekend, with diversions and rail replacement buses on some routes.

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Passengers in the South East are reminded to check before travelling by train this Easter as Network Rail is set to carry out a £10m programme of work to improve the region’s rail network.

Around 2,000 engineers will be working round the clock over the long weekend on a range of projects to boost reliability and safety on busy commuter routes. This includes improvements to Sevenoaks tunnel in Kent, bringing new signalling equipment – which controls the safe running of trains – into use through Mitcham and Sutton and laying new track between New Cross and Norwood Junction.

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

The biggest impacts will be:

  • No Southern or London Overground trains between London Bridge and West Croydon via New Cross Gate and Crystal Palace all day Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday (30 March and 1 April), thanks to new track being laid between New Cross Gate and Norwood Junction. Thameslink’s Saturday service between London Bridge and Brighton will not run either. Only a limited Southern service will operate to / from London Bridge with trains operating via Peckham Rye. There will be no direct service between London Bridge and East Croydon on Easter Saturday.
  • Buses replace Southeastern trains between Tonbridge and Sevenoaks from Good Friday until the start of service on Tuesday date. Trains between London Charing Cross and Hastings will divert via East Croydon. This is as a result of new track being laid in Sevenoaks Tunnel.
  • New signalling system being commissioned around the Sutton Loop and Mitcham Junction area, meaning no Southern trains between Streatham and Epsom and also between West Croydon and Sutton / Epsom Downs. Thameslink trains will run between Luton and London Blackfriars only. This project lasts from 23.00 on Thursday until the start of service on Tuesday April 3.

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. It also means we have to carry out a more intensive programme of maintenance and renewals than other areas to keep people moving safely and reliably, which is what we’re doing this Easter 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.”

Stuart Cheshire, Passenger Services Director at Govia Thameslink Railway, which operates Thameslink and Southern, said:

“Passengers need to plan ahead this Easter while Network Rail carries out this essential work. Visit our websites or nationalrailenquiries.com.”

Ellie Burrows, Southeastern’s Train Services Director, said:

“Work to improve our railway continues this Easter bank holiday, and working together in partnership with Network Rail, we’re investing to deliver the essential maintenance that we need for a 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.”

Other changes to services in and around London include:

  • Euston station will be partially closed. On Saturday 31 March and Monday 2 April a reduced service will be in place for London Northwestern Railway passengers. On Sunday 1 April passengers are advised to use the Jubilee line between London and Stanmore. There will be no train services out of Euston for Virgin Trains West Coast on Sunday 1 April
  • Crossrail East works continue in the Shenfield area disrupting travel in and out of Liverpool Street on the Great Eastern main line to Norwich
  • Services to London Waterloo and Windsor/Reading will be diverted between 30 March – 2 April
  • Crossrail West works continue impacting services in and out of London Paddington from 30 March – 2 April

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Charity

Brighton Marathon runners ‘on track’ to raise £80k for Chestnut Tree House

Around 12,000 people ran in this year’s Brighton Marathon, many running for various charities. Many ran for West Sussex based charity, Chestnut Tree House & are set to raise an incredible £80k!

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Two Brighton Marathon runners, raising money for Chestnut Tree House. Photo: Matt Pitts

A total of 199 people took part in the Brighton Marathon and BM10k for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice on Sunday 15 April, and are set to raise a staggering £80,000 for the charity.

Runners from across Sussex and further afield set out from Preston Park on Sunday morning, and were supported by volunteer cheer teams along the route. 97 people ran in the 10k race for Chestnut Tree House and 102 took on the 26.2 mile course.

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The first runner to complete the Brighton Marathon 2018 for Chestnut Tree House was 48 year-old George Miller from Steyning, who ran the course in 3:18:38. It was a double success for George on Sunday, as not only did the first-time marathon runner beat his target time of 3:30, but he raised an incredible £1,120 – smashing his £750 fundraising target!

George Miller finished in a fantastic 3:18:38.

George said he was very proud to be able to represent Chestnut Tree House and is inspired by the amazing work they do for children and young people with life-shortening conditions and their families throughout Sussex.

First time marathon runner, Jaimey Willett. Photo: Matt Pitts

Other Brighton Marathon runners in Team Chestnut included Steve Bird, 39, from Burgess Hill, who ran it in 3:26:28; Chestnut Tree House Trustee, David Pegler, 50, who ran a personal best of 3:35:14; first-time marathon runner Jaimey Willett, 37, from Chichester (4:18:53); and Lee Kemp, who is already planning to run his fourth Brighton Marathon next year.

Lee, 35, said:

“When I visited Chestnut Tree House, I was moved by the care services they offer and inspired by the incredible work they do. The care they provide to local children and families is so important – that’s what I run for.

Lee Kemp is planning to run his fourth Brighton Marathon next year. Photo: Matt Pitts

“I was aiming for under four hours so am delighted with my time of 3:58:19. This was the third time I’ve run the Brighton Marathon for Chestnut Tree House, and I’m already planning to come back next year! The support around the course from the charity really helps encourage me, so I’d like to thank all the volunteers who came out to cheer us all on.”

In the BM10k race, 41 year-old Steve Allen was the first across the finish line for the charity with a time of 38:57.

All runners for Chestnut Tree House were given a warm post-race welcome at the charity’s tent in the Event Village, where they could meet some of the team, refuel, and recover with a complimentary massage from Niki Harrington of Symbiosis.

Steve Bird & his daughter, Amber.

Lauren Gowing, Events Fundraiser at Chestnut Tree House said:

“The event went really well and it was great to meet our runners and congratulate them on their achievement. We feel privileged that so many people chose to run for us. It’s wonderful to see the familiar faces of runners who have supported us for some time, but equally inspiring to meet people who have chosen to support Chestnut Tree House for the first time this year.

“We need to raise £6,850 every day to cover the cost of all Chestnut Tree House’s care services, both at the hospice and in families’ own homes. The £80,000 raised by our Brighton Marathon and BM10k runners will cover our care costs for over 11 days, which is incredible. Ultimately, support like this helps us to continue helping life-limited children across Sussex and South East Hampshire.

“We’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who ran for us, as well as our supporters and volunteers who helped on the day. Thanks too to the Brighton Mini Club for showing their support during the cavalcade, Symbiosis for offering complimentary massages, and South Downs Water for donating water to our runners.”

Chestnut Tree House will soon have places available for next year’s Brighton Marathon on Sunday 14 April 2019. To find out more visit www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk/brightonmarathon.

Some of the people running for Chestnut Tree House, pre-race.

Chestnut Tree House opened its doors in 2003 and currently provides care and support to 300 children with life-shortening conditions and their families across Sussex and South East Hampshire – at the hospice and in families’ own homes. The cost of providing this vital service is over £3.5 million per year, yet the hospice receives less than 7% central government funding so relies heavily on the generosity and support of the local community and events like the Brighton Marathon to continue providing vital care to children and families.

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