Govia Thameslink Railway

'Essential' rail works delayed for Brighton's big match

Neville Dalton

Brighton fans attending their team's FA Cup sixth-round tie at Millwall
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Key improvements to the Brighton Main Line have been delayed to minimise disruption to Brighton and Hove Albion fans attending the team's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley next month.

Part of the massive upgrade programme for the line, between the city and Three Bridges, was scheduled to take place on 6 April - the day of the game against Manchester City, when more than 30,000 of the club's fans are expected to attend.

But after talks between the club, Network Rail and train operator GTR, that day's scheduled engineering works have been called off, allowing supporters travelling by rail to reach London without the need to use replacement buses.

No new date has been set for the work, described by GTR's infrastructure director Keith Jipps as essential to deliver the promised improvements in reliability and punctuality on one of the UK's busiest rail networks.

In February, the same stretch of the line was closed for nine days so that the bulk of the £67m upgrade programme could be carried out during what was half term for most schools.

Thousands of commuters endured more than a week of major disruption, with substantially longer journeys to and from work, although many chose to take time off or work from home.

But Network Rail's Paul Harwood explained why football fans would not have to go through the same disruption. "The match is incredibly important, not just to so many Brighton fans but also the wider Brighton economy," he said. "So we started to reschedule the work as soon as Brighton were through to the semi-finals.

"We will update passengers soon, once we have confirmed a replacement date to complete the work before the summer."

The improvement work scheduled for the following day will go ahead as planned.

Albion's transport manager, George Hunt, said: “We’re delighted that we’ve been able to work with Network Rail and GTR to successfully reschedule the work to allow our fans to travel to Wembley on trains instead of replacement buses."

Govia Thameslink fined record £5m over timetable chaos

Rail passengers
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Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has been fined a record £5m by the rail regulator over its chaotic introduction of a new timetable in May last year.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) said the rail company "failed to provide appropriate, accurate and timely information".

The new timetable caused severe disruption on Thameslink and Great Northern routes for eight weeks.

GTR has 21 days to respond to the penalty notice.

BreakingTrain company faces fine

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) faces a £5m fine after the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) found that it failed to provide appropriate, accurate and timely information to passengers following the introduction of a new timetable last May.

Rail travellers face more line closures

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

No trains are passing through Lewes for the next four days because of engineering works.

There are also no services between Brighton and Eastbourne or Seaford and Haywards Heath.

Lewes railway station

Network Rail is replacing signalling equipment on those lines.

It follows the closure of the Brighton mainline for nine days of engineering work.