Network Rail promise the end of 'bumpy journeys' on key rail line to London

Tap to watch a video report by ITV News Meridian's James Dunham

Network Rail is promising the end of 'bumpy journeys' on a key rail route to London once nine days of vital improvement works are complete.

South Western Railway services between Haslemere and Havant have been replaced with buses since last weekend.

It's to allow an army of engineers to replace outdated tracks, switches and crossings at Petersfield station to allow trains to run more smoothly.

The upgrade work is part of £95 million investment to improve journeys between Portsmouth and London.

Engineers at Petersfield Credit: ITV News Meridian

Jeff Rose, blockade director, said, "People who travel on this line will have felt as they go over that crossing the sway of the train, knocking them from one side to the other.

"We can maintain that only for so long. And then we have to replace all of the track. That's the rails, that's the crossing equipment, that's the sleepers, the ballast underneath and the sub base underneath the ballast.

"The nine days is required for the project because they're doing a lot of work at all the level crossings and we're clearing out what's called the the troughing route, where all our cables are going to be run.

"So they needed that that sort of nine days to carry out that work. Otherwise, it was going to be multiple weekends to come in and do that."

Train bosses are trying to be as efficient as possible with a conductor rail at Petersfield recycled from another line because it still has years left of electrifying life.

Signalling equipment from the 1970s is also being replaced with digital technology at Network Rail's operations centre in Basingstoke.

People are having to use rail replacement buses instead Credit: ITV News Meridian

Babak Erfani, Network Rail’s senior signalling sponsor for Wessex, said,

"This is the third closure on the line between Woking and Portsmouth Harbour as part of the Portsmouth Direct Upgrade programme, which is progressing very well.

"This closure is mainly to install new signalling structures and renew a vital set of switches and crossings, but we’ve made the most of it by carrying out a large programme of maintenance too.

"All of the work we’re doing is really important if we’re to run an efficient railway. The new signals that we’re beginning to install, and the switches and crossings we’re renewing, will mean that passengers can benefit from better and more reliable journeys for years to come.

"We really appreciate the patience of our passengers, who we advise to check before they travel, as buses will replace trains throughout the closure."