Seaford signalling upgrade commissioned

NETWORK RAIL commissioned new signalling between Lewes and Seaford via Newhaven during a line closure between 28 November and 1 December.

Museum piece: track layout plan over the levers in Newhaven Harbour box, now closed.
John Vaughan

The new signalling is controlled from the Three Bridges Rail Operating Centre (ROC), with signal boxes at Lewes, Newhaven Town and Newhaven Harbour closed. The project also included:

■ work to five level crossings;

■ installation of three new relocatable equipment buildings (REBs) at Lewes, Newhaven Marine and Cooksbridge;

■ replacement signal structures; and

■ the installation of a new turnback move at Lewes.

The upgrade has increased diversionary capacity for London to Brighton via Lewes services from one to three trains per hour. An earlier phase had seen renewal of track and points at Southerham Junction, the junction with the branch to Seaford. The closure was also used to carry out improvements at Seaford, Bishopstone, Newhaven Town, Southease and Glynde stations in partnership with Govia Thameslink Railway, including canopy repairs, repainting, deep cleaning and general maintenance.

Sunrise over Newhaven Harbour: a works train passes the now-redundant signal box at Newhaven Harbour during the blockade.
Courtesy Network Rail

The commissioning had been planned to take place in March (p66, April 2019 issue), but was postponed by Network Rail. The principal contractor is Atkins, with design work by SNC-Lavalin and the project executed in an alliance with Network Rail.

Network Rail also completed its final weekend closure of the line between Barnham and Havant via Chichester on the West Coastway. Since late October a major programme of track replacement and station refurbishment has taken place, with over 2km of new track laid.