Brighton Main Line commuters facing nine days of disruption

Brighton Main Line Improvement Project Image copyright Brighton Main Line Improvement Project
Image caption There have been a number of weekend closures since October, with more planned

Thousands of commuters on one of the busiest rail routes in the South East will face major disruption next week as part of a £300m improvement project.

There will be no direct trains between between Three Bridges and Brighton or between Three Bridges and Lewes from Saturday.

Services between Brighton and London will be diverted via Littlehampton.

Network Rail said surrounding services would be affected while engineers renew and upgrade the Brighton Main Line.

It said season-ticket holders would not be compensated because alternative journeys were being provided.

The nine-day closure until 24 February coincides with the school half term when Network Rail hopes passenger numbers will be lower and some people will be able to be more flexible with their travel plans or take annual leave.

The £67m upgrade is the biggest refurbishment of the line - which is used by more than 300,000 passengers per day and renowned for being one of the most unreliable parts of the network - in more than 30 years.

Network Rail said without the programme of work, reliability on the line would deteriorate in the months and years ahead, leading to more delays for passengers travelling between London and the south coast.

Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption Services will be disrupted between 16 and 24 February

Summer Dean, from the Association of British Commuters, said it was unacceptable that season-ticket holders would be left "out of pocket".

"They have paid a lot of money... and they're not going to be getting that service," she said.

"They're going to have to pay for things like alternative travel accommodation to be able to go about their daily business in the city."

Network Rail said compensation was not available for the days affected by line closures because passengers "will be provided with alternatives to complete their journeys, including rail replacement bus/coach services or diverted trains".

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