North Downs Line track renewals

This year we will be introducing longer trains on North Downs (Reading to Gatwick Airport) services. These trains are more environmentally friendly and will also boost capacity on this very popular route.

Ahead of this, Network Rail will be working on the line to improve the condition of the track and signals. This will help to make services more reliable, as well as providing a more comfortable ride.

Most of this work will take place at weekends with one extended period of upgrades taking place in the Guildford area from Friday 10 (Good Friday) to Sunday 19 April.

What you need to know:

  • buses replace trains between various locations on the line. These will depart at different times to normal trains
  • where trains continue to operate, services will run hourly on weekends and public holidays. A half-hourly service will run on affected weekdays
  • the only weekday work to take place will run from Friday 10 to Sunday 19 April (affecting 4 working days)

Key dates:

Track renewals will take place on the following days, please check your journey carefully if you are travelling during any of these times:

Date(s)
Buses replace trains between
Sunday 1 March

Reading and Blackwater

Sunday 8 March Guildford and Gatwick Airport
Sunday 15, 22 and 29 March Ash and Shalford
Sunday 5 April Reading and Guildford
Friday 10 (Good Friday) to Sunday 19 April North Camp and Gatwick Airport
Weekends of 25/26 April and 16/17 May Ash and Shalford
Sunday 14 June Reigate and Gatwick Airport

Friday 10 to Sunday 19 April

Network Rail will be renewing track, points and track circuits in the Guildford area over the Easter holiday period to help provide a more reliable service through the station.

Whilst this work is being carried out, we will not be able to operate trains between Ash and Gatwick Airport.

North Downs


How services will be affected

Great Western Railway
  • buses will replace trains between North Camp and Redhill/Gatwick Airport
  • half-hourly services will continue to run between Reading and Ash on weekdays, with an hourly service on weekends and public holidays
  • trains will leave Reading at xx02 and xx32 on weekdays
  • trains will leave Reading at xx32 on Saturdays and xx15 on Sundays
South Western Railway
  • no trains will serve Guildford between Friday 10 and Monday 13 April
  • a limited service will run between Guildford and London Waterloo on other days
  • buses will replace trains between Aldershot and Guildford (via Ash and Wanborough)
  • buses will also run between Woking and Haslemere (via Guildford)
Southern
  • services from Reigate, Redhill and Gatwick Airport will run normally
  • peak-hour services to/from Guildford will start/terminate at Epsom
CrossCountry
  • services between Reading and Guildford will not run
  • trains will start/terminate at Reading instead

Changes to car parks during this period

Replacement bus services will mean there will be reduced car parking spaces available at the following stations:

  • Guildford
  • Gomshall
  • Redhill

Please allow plenty of time to park during this time.


Weekend track renewals

Date(s)
Area affected
Replacement buses run between
Sunday 1 March

Reading to Blackwater

  • Reading and Blackwater (non-stop) – every two hours, 45 minutes journey time
  • Reading and Blackwater (via Wokingham) – every two hours, 55 minutes journey time
  • Reading and Blackwater (via Wokingham, Crowthorne and Sandhurst) – every two hours, 60 minutes journey time
  • Reading and Ascot (SWR bus via all stations) – every 30 minutes, 60 minutes journey time
  • an hourly train service will continue to run between Blackwater and Gatwick Airport
Sunday 8 March

Guildford to Gatwick Airport

  • buses will replace trains between Guildford and Gatwick Airport
  • Southern services will continue to run between Redhill and Gatwick Airport
Sunday 15, 22 and 29 March

Weekends of 25/26 April and 16/17 May
Ash to Shalford
  • North Camp and Shalford (via Guildford) – hourly, 35 minutes journey time
  • Aldershot and Guildford (SWR bus via Ash and Wanborough) – hourly, 35 minutes journey time
  • an hourly train service will continue to run between Reading-Ash and Shalford-Gatwick Airport
Sunday 5 April Reading to Guildford
  • Reading and Guildford (via Wokingham, Blackwater and North Camp) – hourly, 90 minutes journey time
  • Reading and Guildford (all stations except Wanborough) – hourly, 110 minutes journey time
  • Aldershot and Guildford (SWR bus via Ash and Wanborough) – hourly, 35 minutes journey time
  • an hourly train service will continue to run between Guildford and Gatwick Airport
Sunday 14 June Reigate to Gatwick Airport

Additional Information

Where to catch our replacement buses

Replacement buses will stop outside the front of the station entrance or car park entrance, except at the following locations:

Station
Replacement bus stop
Crowthorne

Bus stops by the shops on Dukes Ride

Sandhurst Bus stops by shopping parade on High Street
North Camp The Old Ford public house, at the front of the station
Ash Church Road bus bay (for Aldershot), outside new flats (for Guildford)
Wanborough Glaziers Lane, The Paddocks (for Guildford), Marymead/Landgate (for Aldershot)
Shalford Horsham Road bus stops. Buses starting or terminating at Shalford will use the station car park
Chilworth Bus shelter near the station
Dorking West Railway bridge, Ranmore Road
Dorking Deepdene A24, Bus stop E for Guildford, Bus stop A for Gatwick Airport
Betchworth Pilgrims Way Cottages bus stops (approximately 15 minutes walk from the station)

Help with your journey

If you are not able to travel on our replacement buses, an accessible taxi can be arranged for you. This can be done by:

  • booking in advance at GWR.com/PassengerAssist
  • speaking to a member of staff at the station on the day of travel*
  • using the Help Point available at all of our stations on the day of travel*

*please allow additional time as an accessible taxi may not be available immediately. Booking in advance is the best way to ensure a smooth journey.