Botley line to close for seven days in May

Botley line to close for seven days during May half-term. No trains will run between Fareham and Eastleigh for a week.

Fareham station

Pic: © Network Rail

The line between Fareham and Eastleigh will close for improvements between May 23 and 29 while engineers will install almost a mile of new track between Fareham and Botley Network Rail have announced.

Bus replacement services and train service diversions will be in place during the seven day line closure over the May half term school holiday. Engineers will work around the clock in a single seven-day closure, instead of a series of weekends.To minimise disruption and complete the work as quickly as possible.

Part of the new track will be installed at Tapnage tunnel between Fareham and Botley, requiring the use of a specialist, ‘New Track Construction’ train which uses a continuous, automated process to quickly lay sleepers and align rails. Almost a mile of new track will be laid on a section of the line from Fareham to Eastleigh.

During the week there will be no trains between Fareham and Eastleigh and Buses will replace South Western Railway (SWR) trains calling at Eastleigh, Hedge End, Botley and Fareham. Great Western Railway (GWR) services will be diverted via Netley whilst Southern services will be diverted via Swanwick.

Passengers are advised to plan their journeys and check before travelling. There will also be limited car parking at Fareham station, with passengers advised to use alternative local car parks.

In a statement on the Network Rail website, Mark Killick, Network Rail Wessex route director, said:

“We know there’s never a good time to close the railway; a seven day closure during the May half term, when it’s typically quieter, means we can minimise disruption to passengers.  The alternative would be many weekend closures over a much longer period.

“Due to its location this will be a challenging track renewal project; once complete, it will provide passengers with a more reliable railway and better performing train journeys.”

Network Rail also quotes Alan Penlington, Customer Experience Director for South Western Railway:

“Whilst these works will be disruptive for our customers, they are crucial for improving our network’s infrastructure resulting in a more reliable railway.

“Replacement buses will be in operation between Fareham and Eastleigh, so I would encourage our customers to check their journey before they travel.”