Virgin Trains released provisional information on Christmas and New Year train timetables to allow customers to start planning their journeys in good time. It is expected that train tickets will go on sale within the next two weeks and customers are recommended to book these as soon as possible to ensure they have the seats of their choice at this traditionally busy time. Tickets together with seat reservations sold by Virgin Trains will definitely be accepted at Christmas whoever is running services.
Chris Gibb, Virgin Trains Chief Operating Officer said today: “This is a particularly complicated and intensive set of works through the Christmas and New Year periods with extensive alterations to train services. We are working hard with industry colleagues particularly Network Rail and the Association of Train Operators Companies to ensure that customers have as much advance information as possible irrespective of who will actually be running long distance services on the West Coast Main Line by this time.”
Here follows a day by day summary of West Coast train services through the holiday period:-
Friday 21 December
Full weekday service with no evening peak period restrictions and 20:30 Euston to Preston extended to Glasgow calling Lancaster, Oxenholme and Carlisle.
Saturday 22 December
Full Saturday service with slightly earlier close down due to major re-signalling work starting in the Bletchley area at 22:00.
Sunday and Monday 23, 24 December
Engineers will be working on a major re-signalling project in the Bletchley area on both these days and because of this the southern end of the West Coast Main Line will be closed to trains. There will be an hourly service from Euston running via an alternative route to Coventry and Nuneaton. Hourly connecting services will run from Rugby and Nuneaton to Manchester via Stoke-on-Trent, Liverpool via Crewe, Glasgow Central via Crewe and Preston, and between Rugby and Wolverhampton via Coventry and Birmingham. Connections will be available at Crewe for North Wales. The Birmingham to Glasgow and Edinburgh services via Preston will run normally. Journey times will be considerably extended and passengers should check carefully for journeys on Monday 24 December as there will be an earlier close down.
Tuesday and Wednesday 25, 26 December
Thursday and Friday 27, 28 December
Engineers will be continuing work on the Bletchley re-signalling project although two tracks out of four will be open at the southern end of the West Coast Main Line. Additionally, a tunnel between Lichfield and Stafford will be closed while engineers carry out renovation work.
Hourly services will run from Euston to Liverpool via Crewe and to Glasgow via Crewe and Preston. Two trains per hour will run from London Euston to the West Midlands and to Manchester via Stoke on Trent. Services between Birmingham and Scotland will run at their normal frequencies and passengers for North Wales should change at Crewe.
Saturday and Sunday 29, 30 December
Engineers will be continuing work on the Bletchley re-signalling project although two tracks out of four will be open at the southern end of the West Coast Main Line. Additionally, a tunnel between Lichfield and Stafford will be closed while engineers carry out renovation work and the railway will be completely closed in the Wigan area to allow route improvement work to take place.
Hourly services will run between Birmingham New St and Preston via Crewe and Manchester, Euston and Liverpool via Crewe, and between Preston and Glasgow. Two services per hour will run between Euston and Manchester via Stoke-on-Trent. There will be one service very two hours between Preston and Edinburgh. Passengers travelling to North Wales should change at Crewe.
Monday 31 December
The line between Lichfield and Stafford will be closed all day while engineers continue tunnel renovation work.
Hourly services will run between Euston and both Liverpool and Glasgow and two services per hour will run between Euston and Manchester via Stoke. A normal level of service will run between London and the West Midlands and between Birmingham and Scotland. Passengers for North Wales should change at Crewe. There will be an earlier close down so passengers are asked to particularly check times of trains if they are travelling during the evening.
Tuesday 1 January
The route between Rugby and Stafford via Nuneaton and also in the Wigan area are closed to all trains.
Hourly services will run from Euston to Liverpool and between Preston and Glasgow and between Birmingham and Preston. Two services per hour will run from Euston to the West Midlands and between Euston and Manchester. There will be one service every two hours between Preston and Edinburgh.
Wednesday 2 January
Normal weekday service.
Full details of train times together with prices will be available within the next two weeks on www.virgintrains.com or www.nationalrail.co.uk.