Figures from Network Rail and ATOC show that there will be more trains and fewer replacement buses than last year.
- The number of replacement buses has halved compared with the last Christmas period
- Around 54,000 more trains will be running this year than last – a 35% increase
- More than £109m will be invested in improvement works over the holiday period
Across the rail network as a whole, the Christmas period tends to be quieter than normal working weeks as far fewer commuter journeys are made.
The overwhelming majority of main rail routes will remain open and be unaffected by planned improvement work, including the three major north-south routes connecting London, the Midlands, the north of England and Scotland.
On the small number of routes that will be affected by vital improvement work, train companies have undertaken advertising campaigns to make passengers aware of any disruption to their services. This includes posters, leaflets, station announcements and Twitter alerts as well as information on the National Rail Enquiries website. Network Rail has also undertaken national and regional press and radio advertising.
Network Rail engineers will be working round the clock to upgrade signalling, lay new track, repair bridges and improve stations to help deliver a better railway for passengers.
Robin Gisby, Network Rail’s managing director, network operations, said: “We’re doing a lot of work this year to improve Britain’s railway, but the overall effect on passengers is much lower than in previous years.
“Passengers will see more trains, fewer buses and a better service this Christmas holiday period as our vital improvement work uses new techniques and equipment that reduces the impact on train services. This will be the model for the years ahead as we invest heavily to build a bigger, better railway and support Britain’s economic growth.”
Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) said: “A significant amount of planning goes into ensuring that every year we minimise the number of people affected by disruption caused by improvement works.
“This year, we have been able to reduce drastically the number of people who will have to get on to a replacement bus. Train companies have been working closely with Network Rail to make sure that we keep people on trains as much as possible.”