A RAILWAY line is set to be closed for nine days while an £11 million upgrade takes place.

The railway between Three Bridges, Brighton and Lewes will be closed from February 19 to 27 next year.

Work will be done to replace the track at the Copyhold Junction between Burgess Hill and Lewes, which dates back to the 1980s.

During the closure, a new underpass is also going to be built under the railway at Hassocks, providing safe access for people.

More work is expected to take place during closure in an attempt to minimise future disruption to passengers.

The work will include:

• Using over 7,000 tonnes of ballast - the stones beneath the track that give support.

• Over 1,000 metres of track renewal.

• Eight sets of point renewals - mechanical systems that move the switches and crossings that guide trains from one track to another.

Network Rail Southern region's investment director Paul Harwood said: "We never take the decision to close the railway lightly and have reviewed this work and access approach in light of the difficult year for passengers, the industry and the country at large to confirm it is the best option.

"As we need to get this critical work done quickly and efficiently to help the country and the railway build back from the pandemic, we believe that getting the work done in nine days and the supporting weekends has never been more important.

The Argus: The railway between Brighton, Three Bridges and Lewes will be closed for nine days in January next yearThe railway between Brighton, Three Bridges and Lewes will be closed for nine days in January next year

"The alternative to delivering this investment over the extended closure in winter, when demand is naturally lower, would have been up to 20 weekend closures or multiple bank holiday closures over two years, which we are confident is unacceptable to our neighbours, passengers and stakeholders, in particular, the leisure and tourism industry on the south coast.

"We are working closely with Govia Thameslink Railway to plan the alternative travel arrangements and make passengers aware of the impact on their journeys, and will regularly liaise with stakeholders and passenger groups as the plans develop".

Alternative travel will be put in place for passengers, and this will include bus replacements and ticket acceptance on open routes.

Chris Fowler, Customer Services Director for Southern, said: "This route is one of the country's busiest, and Network Rail's track renewal is essential to give our customers the reliable, on-time services they rightly expect.

"We'll be ensuring that alternative transport is in place, and we'll issue detailed travel advice over the coming months.

"Journeys will take considerably longer during the nine days of work, and we thank customers in advance for their patience."