The vast majority of people expected to travel by train over the Christmas and New Year holiday period should experience no disruption because of planned improvement works. New figures from the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) and Network Rail show that the number of replacement buses has almost halved compared with the last Christmas period.
Across the rail network as a whole, Christmas period tends to be quieter than normal working weeks as far fewer commuter journeys are made.
The majority of rail routes will remain open and be unaffected by planned improvement work.
On routes that will be affected by vital improvement work, train companies and Network Rail will run advertising campaigns to make passengers aware of any disruption to their services. This includes posters at stations, leaflets handed to passengers, announcements and Twitter alerts as well as information on the National Rail Enquiries website, nationalrail.co.uk.
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.
Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of ATOC said: “A great deal of effort and planning goes into making sure that work to improve stations and make journeys faster and more reliable goes on while minimising disruption for our passengers.
“This year, we have again been able to reduce the number of people who will have to get on to a replacement bus. Once again train companies have been working closely with Network Rail to make sure that we keep people on trains wherever we can.”
Robin Gisby, Network Rail managing director, network operations, said: “We’re doing a lot of work this year to improve Britain’s railway and there will be some disruption to passengers over the Christmas period, but the overall effect on passengers is much lower than in previous years.
“Passengers will see 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.”