South Western Railway has apologised to passengers affected by the poor reliability of rail replacement buses during the recent nine-day closure of the Portsmouth railway line between Petersfield and Guildford.

Passenger watchdog SWR Watch highlighted a number of reliability issues affecting passengers using Petersfield, Liphook, Haslemere, Witley, Godalming, Farncombe and Guildford stations during the closure for major engineering works from February 11 to 19.

In response, South Western Railway (SWR) has apologised to those affected and vowed to take up the issue with its service provider.

The rail operator acknowledged that road closures in the Haslemere area by SGN affected the service, as well as "unexpected" route changes caused by a temporary one-way system in Godalming.

A road closure in Farncombe because of a burst water main further disrupted bus routes, meaning both level crossings in Farncombe were temporarily closed.

A SWR spokesman said: "We’re sorry for any customers who experienced disruption as a result of these issues."

SWR also admitted that they were unable to provide detailed information on cancellations or delays during the works to the Portsmouth line, and is "reviewing how best to improve this".

However, the spokesman added SWR did advise customers through social media and its website in advance that there were likely to be increased journey times because of the Haslemere roadworks.

On the status of the Portsmouth line between Petersfield and Guildford, SWR confirmed normal services resumed as of February 19, as advertised.

The engineering works are part of a major programme of work by Network Rail, upgrading signalling and track on the line from Woking to Portsmouth Harbour, to improve reliability, journey times, and potential capacity.

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