Network Rail will carry out a huge programme of maintenance and upgrades during a nine-day closure between Haslemere and Havant railway stations.

Passengers in Surrey and Hampshire are set to benefit from safer, smoother, and more reliable journeys as engineers continue the Portsmouth Direct Upgrade.

The railway between Haslemere and Havant will be closed from Saturday, October 22 to Sunday, October 30, extending to Guildford on weekends, with buses to replace South Western Railway (SWR) services throughout.

Engineers will begin to install new signals as part of the Farncombe to Petersfield resignalling programme, which will eventually allow more trains to run between Woking and Portsmouth Harbour.

At Petersfield, a set of switches and crossings, which allows trains to move from one track to another, will be upgraded to make the line more reliable and provide greater operational flexibility.

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 we’re beginning to install, and the switches and crossings we’re renewing, will mean 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.”

Christian Neill, customer experience director for South Western Railway, said: “As the exciting Portsmouth Direct Upgrade programme continues at pace, we would like to thank customers for their patience and understanding during the upcoming closure.

“We appreciate nine days of closure can be frustrating, but this will allow Network Rail engineers to make significant progress on the project, which will ultimately replace decades old equipment to help improve infrastructure resilience as well as performance for customers.

“We advise customers planning to use the line to check before they travel and make use of the rail replacement bus services available.”

During the closure, engineers will also: continue upgrade work on three level crossings between Liss and Petersfield to make them safer and more efficient, carry out track maintenance in the Milford and Liphook areas and in Buriton tunnel, between Petersfield and Rowlands Castle, for smoother and more reliable journeys, repair and refurbish the waiting shelter on platform two at Rowlands Castle station, to provide a better passenger experience, and renew drainage in the Haslemere area to improve reliability during extreme weather.