Winds from Storm Doris to slow Southern trains

The London Road viaduct in Brighton
The London Road viaduct in Brighton
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Heavy winds from Storm Doris mean speed restrictions will be in place across much of Sussex’s train network tomorrow (Thursday February 23).

These are used to keep passengers and staff safe during high winds, as trees and other objects can get blown on to the tracks. With trains running at a reduced top speed of 50mph, drivers are better able to bring trains to a halt if anything is spotted ahead.

On Southern coastal routes from 8am until 5pm, and on the rest of the Southern network from 12pm until 5pm a 50mph speed restriction will be in place.

As a result, there will be changes to some Southern and Gatwick Express services, meaning delays and cancellations on all routes south of East Croydon.

The Metro area is expected to be less affected.

Angie Doll, Southern Passenger Services Director, said: “I’m sorry but these speed restrictions will mean that we won’t be able to run our full service on some of our routes, with cancellations and delays likely across the Southern network.”

Similar restrictions will be in place for Southeastern services.

Ellie Burrows, Train Services Director at Southeastern, said: “Some of our services tomorrow will be affected by the speed restrictions put in place by Network Rail as a safety measure due to the forecast bad weather.

“At present, restrictions will apply from 10am - 5pm on coastal routes from Ashford - Ramsgate and Hastings – Battle; and midday - 5pm on all other routes. We will continue to work with Network Rail to monitor the necessity of these important safety measures, but we advise all passengers to check before they travel and to allow more time for their journeys.”

Andy Derbyshire, chief operating officer for Network Rail’s South East route, added: “Gale force winds are forecast on Thursday, so we’re putting a 50mph speed limit in place when winds are strongest to limit the risk to passengers and staff should trees or other objects get blown onto the tracks.

“This is part of our standard planning for stormy weather, but it will mean changes to journeys for some passengers. Your safety is our top priority, so thank you for your understanding and please check before you travel.”

Summary of tomorrow’s train alterations

London to Portsmouth/Southampton via Barnham:

Between around 11:00 and 18:00 customers travelling on the route between Southampton/Portsmouth and London may need to change trains at Barnham. Trains to and from London will only be running to and from Bognor Regis.

London Victoria to Brighton:

Between around 11:00 and 18:00 there will only be 1 direct train per hour between London Victoria and Brighton, customers should use Thameslink services to and from London, changing at East Croydon for travel to and from London Victoria.

Ashford to Brighton:

Direct trains from Ashford to Brighton will only run between Ashford and Eastbourne, customers will need to change and use alternative services between Eastbourne and Brighton.

Thameslink: London Bridge to Brighton

There will be no direct service from London Bridge to Brighton between around 11:00 and 18:00, customers should travel to East Croydon and change for alternative trains towards Brighton.

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