Train operators are working together with Network Rail to keep disruption to travel to a minimum and allow 95% of trains to run as normal over the festive period.
The majority of the planned upgrade works will be carried out overnight and on Christmas Day and Boxing Day – when normally passenger services aren’t running. But passengers are advised they still need to plan ahead as some routes will be affected by 370 projects.
When travelling passengers are advised to follow guidance from the government and wear a face covering when indoors, especially if the area is busy (unless they are exempt) to help stop the spread of Covid.
Passengers can feel safe when travelling due to extra cleaning, and good ventilation on trains, and also extra staff at stations where events as Christmas markets are taking place.
Rail freight is working with freight operators and ports around the country to help with a raise in demand for supplies in the lead up to Christmas. They have increased the capacity on the network for freight trains to deliver important items such as food, drink and clothes. Between 12th November and Christmas Day, 4.5 million bottles of wine will be delivered to supermarkets on just one train between Tilbury and Daventry.
The planned engineering work coming up was mapped out months ago and some even years before. Some of these works will affect the following:
- No Heathrow Express train or underground to Heathrow on Boxing Day
Due to signalling and track work for HS2 between Paddington and Slough,
Coach services available from Hammersmith or Acton Town
- No Gatwick Express Service in Operation
Due to switching and signal work between London Victoria and Streatham
Southern services will run/from London Bridge
- Reduced train service to/from Leeds between 27 December and 3 January
Due to track remodelling, signalling and overhead wires, work at Leeds Station
Some bus replacement in place – very limited trains on 2nd January
- No services between King’s Cross and Finsbury Park 25th -26th December
Due to Northern City Line tunnel work
- Services from Moorgate to Finsbury Park will divert into King’s Cross from 27th to 29th December
Due to upgrade work for East Coast Digital Programme
- Reduced EMR and Thameslink services 27th December to 4th January
Due to track upgrade from St Pancras International to Kentish Town
- Services by CrossCountry will not call at Bristol Parkway between 27th and 31st December
Some GWR services to/from Bristol Temple Meads also affected
Due to Track renewals to Bristol Parkway
If you are planning to travel by train over the festive period, please check with your train operator, National Rail Enquiries or by following #ChristmasRailWorks on Twitter.
Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “While some essential work is taking place to upgrade our railway over the festive period, we’ve worked hard with train operators to reduce the impact on passengers as far as possible so that they can spend time with their families and friends this Christmas.”“I’d like to thank the thousands of rail workers who will be working to keep services running, and those delivering upgrades to improve our railway and bring more reliable journeys to passengers in future.”