Sussex rail passengers face disruption as tunnel closes

Bus queues at Haywards Heath Station
Image caption Passengers queued to board replacement buses at Haywards Heath station

Rail passengers faced severe disruption because of emergency repairs at a tunnel on the London to Brighton line.

Southern trains said the closure of the Balcombe Tunnel meant trains were not running on Friday between Haywards Heath and Three Bridges.

Replacement buses were running between the two stations. Eastbourne and Hastings to London services were also terminating at Haywards Heath.

Southern apologised for the disruption to "vast numbers" of passengers.

The company said the tunnel would be closed for the rest of Friday, with journeys taking at least an extra hour.

Other train operators were accepting Southern tickets and the Gatwick Express was making extra stops at East Croydon and Clapham Junction in an attempt to ease congestion.

Southern managing director Chris Birchell thanked passengers for their patience.

"Overnight, Network Rail advised us that they were undertaking structural inspections in the tunnel at Balcombe and they found some things that they need to do further inspections on," he added.

"They advised us that they were shutting the tunnel."

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