THERE will be major disruption to trains over Christmas and into the new year due to planned work.

A busy commuter line is expected to close early next year as work takes place in the Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath area.

This is expected to affect passengers travelling to Brighton, Lewes and Three Bridges.

There will also be disruption to trains in London which will impact people from Sussex who travel to the capital during the festive period.

Chris Fowler, customer services director at Southern Trains, said: "Some journeys will take considerably longer than normal, so please check routes and times in advance.”

“We’re working closely with Network Rail and other transport partners to ensure our customers can get where they need to be when services are affected.

“These engineering programmes are essential to give our customers the reliable, on-time services they rightly expect.

At the start of 2022, Copyhold junction, near Haywards Heath, will be rebuilt with new track and a new track will be laid at Burgess Hill.

From February 19 to 27, there will be a closure of the line between Three Bridges, Brighton and Lewes, with replacement bus services running

Work is also planned on weekends after the main closure.

Network Rail Sussex route director Katie Frost said by doing the work in week-long chunks called “blockades” gives passengers the benefits of the upgrades more quickly.

“Putting passengers first is at the heart of what we do, and that works across everything, including how we plan and deliver work, she said.

"Blockades are a massive opportunity for us to deliver more efficiently, reduce overall disruption to services and ultimately do more work to improve journeys for our passengers,” she said.

“But we won’t forget that that the success of previous extended line closures was in no small part due to our strong focus on passenger and stakeholder management, and our close partnership with train operator colleagues.

“That’s why we’ll work closely with local stakeholders and train operators to ensure people who live by the railway, passengers and businesses are fully aware of the impact on their journeys and the alternative travel options available to them.”

Trains will not be running between East Croydon and London Victoria over Christmas and New Year.

The route will first be closed on Saturday, November 27, and Sunday, November 28.

A further ten-day closure from December 25 to January 3 will see a new track and ballast built at Pouparts Junction, near Clapham.

Signal gantries to house new signalling equipment, cables routes and power supply points will also be installed along the lines from Balham to London Victoria.

During this time, no trains will run between East Croydon and London Victoria, while most Southern trains will be diverted to London Bridge.

The resignalling project is part of a four-year programme of investment to upgrade signalling and tracks at key junctions on the south London lines into London Victoria.

In total, more than 1,000 metres of track, 7,000 tonnes of ballast and eight sets of points will be replaced with new, more reliable equipment.