SOUTH Western Railway (SWR) is advising customers to check before travelling, and allow extra time to complete their journeys, with the line between Reading and Bracknell closed from Monday.
The closure, which will also affect Great Western Railway services between Reading and Guildford, will allow Network Rail to continue work on a major resignalling programme and carry out vital maintenance.
Buses will replace trains between Reading and Bracknell, with two stopping and two direct services per hour.
Stuart Meek, Chief Operating Officer for South Western Railway, said:
“It’s really important that customers check before they travel, and allow extra time to complete their journeys, as buses are replacing trains between Reading and Bracknell for five days.
"Making decisions to close parts of the network is really difficult because we know how inconvenient it can be for customers, but giving Network Rail this access can make the railway more reliable and help avoid day-to-day disruption.”
Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex Route Director, said:
“It’s really great to see phase three and four of this huge resignalling project taking place. The current signalling system dates back to the early 1970s and during a long-term programme we’ve been modernising it to improve reliability across the Southern region.
“We’re aware that Wessex route can sometimes be one of the worst affected in terms of signalling issues and completing this work will help prevent those incidents and will allow us to increase capacity for trains with fewer delays, improved safety and lower running costs.
“We’d like to thank customers for their patience and bearing with us.”
The closure between Reading and Bracknell is one of three across the SWR network between Saturday 11 and Sunday 19 February, with Network Rail carrying out resignalling work between Staines and Windsor & Eton Riverside (extending to between Virginia Water and Hounslow on 18 and 19 February), and between Guildford and Petersfield, at the same time.
Customers are advised to visit southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey for more information on engineering work during February.