Portsmouth Train Travel: Portsmouth Harbour to Southampton Central route to shut during school holidays - when

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A major upgrade of the rail network will mean passengers will face the misery of a bus replacement service during the school holidays.

The route between Portsmouth Harbour and Southampton Central stations will be shut between February 12 and 16. Trains from Great Western Railway, South Western Railway (SWR) and Southern Rail will all be substituted with replacement bus services. The routes between Havant and Southampton Central, as well as between Eastleigh and Portsmouth Harbour, will also be affected.

Network Rail said "vital reliability upgrades" will be taking place between Portsmouth and Fareham during this period. Jeff Rose, Network Rail's blockade programme manager, said: "We're very sorry for any inconvenience our works will cause to the thousands of customers who use this important stretch of line and live between Portsmouth and Southampton. The decision to close the railway is never taken lightly, however we have chosen the February half term to minimise disruption to as many people as possible."

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Major upgrades to the railway are taking place over February half term between Portsmouth and Southampton. Customers are set to face major disruption with replacement bus services being offered to passengers.Major upgrades to the railway are taking place over February half term between Portsmouth and Southampton. Customers are set to face major disruption with replacement bus services being offered to passengers.
Major upgrades to the railway are taking place over February half term between Portsmouth and Southampton. Customers are set to face major disruption with replacement bus services being offered to passengers. | Contributed

"These works are essential to maintaining and improving railway reliability in the Portsmouth and Fareham areas and will help keep the railway safe. We know that by completing these works now, our customers will benefit for years to come and we'd like to thank them for their patience while we carry out these vital reliability upgrades." The project will see engineers renewing 1094m of track across four platforms at Portsmouth Harbour.

Repairs include replacing jointed rails, examining rails, fixing baseplates to track and installing sleepers to extend the life expectancy of the tracks. The track's life expectancy is set to be extended by 20 years. During the closures, 592m of rail at Vernon Bridge will be refurbished. Jointed rails will be replaced and wheel timbers will be renewed.

In the Fareham area, engineers will replace sleepers and ballast (track stones) while also renewing 600m of jointed curved rail. Network Rail said this would provide customers with smoother journeys. Upgrades to the signalling system will be carried out between St Denys and Swanwick stations. Over 12,000m of signalling cables will be installed as part of the Southampton Area Life Extension programme. Network Rail said the works would mean fewer faults and delays in the future, and extend the railway's lifespan by 50 years.

Addressing the disruption to passengers, SWR's customer and commercial director Peter Williams said: "We’re sorry for the disruption that these closures will cause, however, it is important that our colleagues at Network Rail complete these improvements. Customers should check carefully before travelling as these closures affect both the route to Portsmouth via Eastleigh and the route to Portsmouth from Southampton Central.

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"Buses will replace trains and customers should allow extra time to complete their journeys.” Jenny Saunders, Govia Thameslink Railway's customer services director, added: "I'm sorry this work will severely affect our Southern customers on the route west of Havant and in the Portsmouth & Southsea to Portsmouth Harbour areas. We'll do everything possible to keep people moving through rail replacement buses but journeys will take much longer and I'd urge you to plan ahead at nationalrail.co.uk and allow plenty of extra time."

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