UK travellers urged to plan Christmas rail journeys ahead of closures

UK travellers urged to plan Christmas rail journeys ahead of closures

Network Rail is advising passengers to plan their journeys as early as possible ahead of Christmas.

This is ahead of another programme of closures for upgrade work, with up to 200 projects being delivered across Britain over this holiday period.

The changes will see Heathrow Express closed for six days over the holiday period.

Phil Hufton, managing director England & Wales at Network Rail, said: “Work takes place all year round as part of our railway upgrade plan, but we usually carry out larger upgrades over bank holidays as this is when passenger numbers are at their lowest.

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“This will mean changes to services over the festive period, so we strongly advise passengers to plan their journeys as early as possible.

Larger pieces of work are planned for bank holidays as they are generally quieter periods with fewer – up to 50 per cent fewer – passengers travelling by rail.

Work on a few major projects will begin on Christmas Eve, a Saturday this year and a quieter time for rail travel, giving engineers and maintenance teams four clear days to make significant progress on major projects that will deliver numerous passenger benefits.

Passengers are being advised to plan their journeys more carefully this year as there will be significant changes to train services out of London Paddington and London Liverpool Street.

A breakdown of how journeys may be affected can be found here and by following #ChristmasWorks on Twitter.

The following are some of the biggest projects being delivered this Christmas: 

  • Crossrail West: Work taking place between Old Oak Common, Stockley, Hayes, Acton and Maidenhead sees significant changes to services out of London Paddington from Christmas Eve including services to Heathrow.
  • Crossrail East: Major upgrades in preparation for new services in 2017 will mean that bus replacements and diversions will be in place to some services out of London Liverpool Street on the Great Eastern main line to Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich from December 23rd until January 4th.
  • Northern Hub: Large scale work taking place on Manchester’s Ordsall Chord project will mean bus replacements and diversions from Oxford Road station from December 18th to early hours on December 28th.
  • Thameslink: Major improvement work on the approaches to London Bridge means there will be no Southeastern services to London Bridge and Charing Cross from December 24-28 or to Cannon Street from December 24-27.
  • Cardiff Area Signalling Renewal: This Christmas will see significant work in the Cardiff area as new signalling and tracks are brought on-stream. There will be no train services late on Christmas Eve between Cardiff Central, Bridgend, Newport and the Valleys and there will be bus replacements and diversions in place between Cardiff Central, Bridgend, Newport and the Valleys from December 27th until January 3rd.