SOUTH Western Railway (SWR) is advising customers to plan ahead this weekend due to emergency repairs at Hook and engineering work in Southampton.
Since Monday 13 February, Network Rail have been carrying out emergency engineering work at the site of the Hook landslip, requiring rail replacement bus services between Farnborough and Basingstoke after 2200.
This weekend, Saturday 18 and Sunday 19, there will be further service changes while those repairs progress. Customers are advised to check before travelling with journey planners being updated on Friday 17.
The last services through Farnborough and Basingstoke will again be earlier than usual on Saturday 18. On Sunday 19, there will be a late start to the morning’s services, followed by an earlier end to services in the late evening.
Separately, engineering work in the Southampton area will mean that services between London Waterloo and Weymouth will start and terminate at Eastleigh. Buses will operate between Eastleigh and Bournemouth, with a revised train service between Brockenhurst, Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth.
Customers are also advised to allow extra time to complete their journeys and, if possible, to travel earlier in the day.
Stuart Meek, SWR’s Chief Operating Officer, said:
“As we approach the last stage of the landslip repairs in Hook there will be some service changes this weekend. We’re advising customers to check before travelling, allow extra time to complete their journeys, and to travel earlier if at all possible.
“As our customers will have seen this week, the last direct services through Farnborough and Basingstoke are earlier than normal, and this will also be the case at the weekend. On Sunday, the first direct services will be later than normal as well.
“There will again be an early shutdown from Monday 20 to Thursday 23 next week before our normal timetable is reinstated on Friday 24. We will reinstate some services sooner if it is possible.
“We’d like to thank our customers for their continued patience during this disruption - which will be further complicated by important maintenance in the Southampton area at the weekend - but we are nearing the end of this challenging period.”
Mark Killick, Network Rail's Wessex Route Director, said:
“We’d like to thank customers and residents living alongside the railway for their patience while we’ve carried out this major repair.
“Fixing the landslip at Hook has been an incredibly tough and complicated job. I’m so sorry our customers will have to endure more disruption before we can reopen all four lines. Unfortunately, there is no perfect solution, but this approach is the least disruptive to our customers overall.
“We’ve taken the difficult decision to carry out the track layout work over multiple nights because I recognise how important it is to provide a direct service to and from London and the south west, particularly as the Portsmouth Direct Line will be closed from the 11 to 19 of February as part of a multi-million-pound upgrade that has been planned for more than two years.
“It’s crucial this work goes ahead because customers wouldn’t see the benefits soon enough and it would cost taxpayers a fortune to reschedule and cause more disruptive closures in the future.”