Arun Valley Line

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Arun Valley Line
Map of the Arun Valley Line
Type Heavy rail
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale South East England
Termini Littlehampton
Three Bridges
Stations 11
Opening 1863
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) Southern
Rolling stock Class 377 "Electrostar"
No. of tracks 2
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The Arun Valley Line, also known as the Mid Sussex Line, is part of the Southern-operated railway services. For the initial part of the route trains follow the Brighton Main Line, and at a junction south of Three Bridges the route turns westwards. It then runs via Crawley, Horsham (where there is a junction with the Mole Valley Line) and Arundel, before meeting the West Coastway Line at Arundel Junction. Trains on the Arun Valley Line then proceed to Portsmouth & Southampton.

Arun Valley Line
Brighton Main Line
Three Bridges
Crawley(1st station, 1848–1968)
Roffey Road Halt
Mole Valley Line
to London Victoria via Dorking
Horsham Jnc
River Arun
A24 Horsham Bypass
Stammerham Junction
Christ's Hospital
to Guildford via Cranleigh Line
Itchingfield Junction
to Shoreham via Steyning Line
River Arun
Hardham Jnc for Midhurst (Closed)
River Arun
North Stoke Tunnel
83 yd 
76 m 
River Arun
River Arun
Ford| Arundel Junction
West Coastway Line

Many stations on this line retain the short platforms which were originally built, not being extended by the Southern Railway when the line was modernized in the 1930s. This causes operational difficulties to this day, which require frequent platform and on-train announcements, telling passengers they must travel in the correct part of the train.


The line was opened in three stages by the London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) between 1848 and 1863, creating what was then known as Mid-Sussex route to Portsmouth.

Three Bridges - Horsham[edit]

A single track branch line was opened on 14 February 1848, with passing places at the intermediate stations at Crawley and Faygate. The line was doubled throughout in 1862. The stations now at Ifield and Littlehaven were not opened with the line, both being opened on 1 June 1907: Ifield as Lyons Crossing Halt and Littlehaven as Rusper Road Halt; both serving the outskirts of their nearby towns. An additional stop was opened at Roffey Road Halt, however this station was closed in the 1930s, as the land around was never built up (and still isn't to this day).

Horsham - Pulborough[edit]

The Midhurst Railways line from Horsham to Pulborough, Petworth and Midhurst was opened on 10 October 1859. The section from Hardham Junction to Midhurst was closed between 1964 and 1966. The Steyning Line from Horsham to Shoreham by Sea was opened on 1 July 1861 branching off at Itchingfield Junction south of Horsham. It closed in 1966.

Pulborough - Arundel[edit]

The line between Hardham Junction south of Pulborough, and Arundel Junction on the coast line via Arundel was finally opened on 3 August 1863 creating a through route to Portsmouth.

Originally, the main LB&SCR route from London to Portsmouth used the Sutton & Mole Valley Lines to Horsham. However, with the increase in demand at Gatwick Airport, the mainline services were re-routed in 1978 to serve the airport and then travel via Three Bridges.


The line was electrified using the (750 V DC third rail) system by the Southern Railway in 1938 as part of the proposals to electrify the lines from London to Portsmouth. This originally only covered the section from Horsham to Littlehampton and Barnham, as the main line was the line through Epsom, as opposed to the line to Three Bridges, but plans were extended to electrify the "branch" as well in the same year.

Two bridges on the line, The Black Rabbit Bridge (just north of Arundel) and the Peppering Bridge (a few hundred yards further on) were replaced during the August Bank Holiday weekend of 2009. The line was completely closed to traffic during these major engineering works and a replacement bus service served stations between Arundel and Pulborough. As the two week Arundel Festival was drawing to a close over the weekend, Southern maintained a service into the station from the West Coastway Line from Bognor Regis via Barnham and Ford, and a reversal at Littlehampton.[1]


There are currently two trains per hour on the route off-peak: Down Line services Both divide at Horsham, the train on the hour has a front portion which is fast to Barnham then onto Portsmouth Harbour. The rear portion is semi fast to Bognor Regis (not calling at Christ's Hospital and Amberley Stations) The 30min past train front portion again runs fast to Barnham then is semi fast to Southampton Central. The rear section calls all stations to Bognor Regis. The Up line service. Again two trains an hour, both services attach at Horsham. The Bognor Regis section always arrives first unless there is disruption and then a section from either Portsmouth Harbour or Southampton Central arrives. Once the train has attached it runs semi fast to London Victoria via the Horsham Branch Line (Horsham to Three Bridges). Each of the up services arrive with normally a 10-minute interchange for the stopping services to London Bridge and the one closest the hour for the Mole Valley service towards Dorking.

Typical off-peak journey times from London Victoria (via Redhill and Gatwick Airport)[edit]

Based on December 2006 timetable.
Stations in italics are served by through trains but are not part of the Arun Valley Line.

Destination Frequency Stopping service Semi-fast service Change for
Clapham Junction 2 train/h 6 minutes 6 minutes London Waterloo, Wimbledon, New Malden, Esher, Woking, Guildford, Reading, Exeter, Willesden Junction, Watford Junction, Milton Keynes
East Croydon 2 train/h 16 minutes 16 minutes Tramlink, London Bridge, Caterham, Tattenham Corner
Redhill 2 train/h 29 minutes 29 minutes Reigate, Dorking, Guildford, Reading, Edenbridge, Tonbridge
Gatwick Airport 2 train/h 39 minutes 37 minutes Hove, Worthing, Lewes, Eastbourne, Bexhill, Hastings
Three Bridges 2 train/h 44 minutes 42 minutes Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, Brighton, London Bridge, London St Pancras, St Albans, Luton Airport, Luton, Bedford
Crawley 2 train/h 47 minutes 45 minutes
Horsham 2 train/h 56 minutes 54 minutes Dorking, Leatherhead, Epsom, Sutton
Christs Hospital 1 train/h 1 hour
Billingshurst 2 train/h 1 hour 6 minutes 1 hour 2 minutes
Pulborough 2 train/h 1 hour 13 minutes 1 hour 8 minutes
Amberley 1 train/h 1 hour 20 minutes
Arundel 2 train/h 1 hour 25 minutes 1 hour 17 minutes
Ford 1 train/h 1 hour 30 minutes 1 hour 22 minutes Littlehampton, Worthing, Brighton
Barnham 2 train/h 1 hour 34 minutes 1 hour 28 minutes Bognor Regis, and also Littlehampton, Worthing, Brighton (Ford has reduced service)
Chichester 2 train/h 1 hour 46 minutes 1 hour 36 minutes Havant, Portsmouth Harbour, Southampton Central

Typical off-peak journey times from London Bridge (via Redhill and Gatwick Airport)[edit]

Based on December 2006 timetable. Stations in italics are served by through trains but are not part of the Arun Valley Line. There are two trains per hour on this route. Some stations between London Bridge and Gatwick Airport have been omitted. Faygate is served during peak hours only.

Destination Off-peak journey time Change for
East Croydon 16 minutes Tramlink, London Victoria, Caterham, Oxted
Redhill 36 minutes Reigate, Guildford, Edenbridge, Tonbridge
Gatwick Airport 50 minutes
Three Bridges 56 minutes Haywards Heath, Brighton, Eastbourne, Worthing
Crawley 1 hour
Ifield 1 hour 3 minutes
Littlehaven 1 hour 9 minutes
Horsham 1 hour 14 minutes Dorking, Leatherhead, Epsom, Sutton



External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°07′01″N 0°09′40″E / 51.117°N 0.161°E / 51.117; 0.161