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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

Keep up to date with all the latest news.

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Crawley Labour’s push for railway clean-up

Years of littering led to a potential health hazard in the areas close to Ifield station.

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Before & after the clean-up [Images: Cllr Geraint Thomas].

Crawley Labour party members and residents in Ifield are delighted that after many months of trying Network Rail have eventually cleared up the rubbish alongside the railway by Ifield Station.

The rubbish alongside the footbridge at the end of Ifield Drive had gradually accumulated over many years forming both an eyesore and a potential health hazard.

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Cllr Geraint Thomas, the Cabinet member for Environmental Services and Sustainability took up the challenge after residents complained about the rubbish alongside the footbridge at Ifield Station in Ifield Drive. Former Cllr John Stanley had tried every which way to find who was responsible for this litter and to get someone to clear it up – Crawley Borough Council could not remove it as it was on railway land but action was soon taken to find out who was responsible and prepared to act.

Clearing up litter and fly-tipping is often made more difficult by the need to establish the actual owner of the land. Contrary to what many people think the public land in Crawley is not always owned by Crawley Borough Council and may typically be owned by WSCC or a private organisation or individual. Establishing the right owner is just part of the process as the owner must be willing to effect a clean-up.

And then there is the question of who pays for the work.

Of course, on the railways it has to be the appropriate organisation. Especially as access and safety concerns have to be addressed – but which is the right organisation?

Cllr Geraint Thomas, Cabinet member for Environmental Services and Sustainability’ said:

“After much persistence I am delighted to have found a contact at Network Rail that was able and willing to clear up this mess. I am now looking to take advantage of this contact and have other trouble spots cleared up as well.”

Ifield councillor Cllr Peter Smith said: “I’m pleased that Cllr Thomas has succeeded in getting this cleared up. My former colleague John Stanley had invested a lot of time and effort trying to get this done and I know that he would have been pleased to see the results achieved. We now have to get the bridge on Berrymeade Walk in Ifield West added to the list for cleaning.”

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