Friday 28 Nov 2003


Region & Route:
Network Rail today announced the main engineering works to take place over the Christmas period. As during each Christmas break, the company will be taking advantage of the traditional two-day closure of the railway to carry out an extensive programme of engineering work.  Carefully planned alternative travel arrangements during these works will also help to keep any possible disruption to an absolute minimum, with passengers informed of the changes well in advance. Announcing the news, Network Rail Chief Executive, John Armitt, said: “This Christmas will be busier than ever for Network Rail, its staff and contractors, as our job to rebuild the railway continues.  “Tens of thousands of dedicated railway staff will be hard at work over the festive break, forgoing their Christmas lunch to undertake some massive engineering tasks that will help to deliver a better performing railway.” Apart from the airport services the railway closes on Christmas Day and on Boxing Day too except for international and a few south east services.  Network Rail will take advantage of this two-day closure to work intensively on the railway.  The principal works outside the traditional two-day period are:- - more - Xmas - 2 Great Western Main Line closed (Taunton-Tiverton), Thurs 25 –Tue 30 December (inc): ·        Major track renewals work and major repairs to Whiteball Tunnel. Diversionary routes allowing direct rail services to continue and replacement bus services in place between Taunton and Exeter.  West Coast Main Line closed (Stockport-Manchester), Thurs 25 –Tue 30 December (inc): ·        During the year extensive work to renew and modernise the signalling control equipment just South of Manchester Piccadilly station was undertaken.  Over the Christmas period this new signalling will be brought into operational use during a six day commissioning, resulting  in the closure of the line between Manchester Piccadilly and Stockport.  Replacement bus services will be in operation, along with a direct rail link between Stockport and Manchester Victoria.  The Manchester-St Pancras service also continues to provide an alternative mainline link to London. West Coast Main Line closed (Stafford - Crewe): Now – Thurs 1 January (inc): ·        Extensive track renewals and signalling works.  Most services diverted via newly electrified Crewe to Kidsgrove route adding around 10 minutes to a London to Glasgow journey. East Coast Main Line closed (at Welwyn Garden City), Thurs 25 – Sun 28 December (inc): ·         Major points renewal and replacement work at Welwyn Garden City.  Services diverted via the Hertford loop adding around 20 minutes to GNER and Hull Trains services. Local WAGN services also affected with some bus substitution in operation. Sussex Coast main lines closed (at Clapham Junction), Thurs 25 – Sat 27 December (inc): ·        Major bridge replacement scheme at Clapham Junction affecting Sussex routes to locations such as Haywards Heath and Brighton.  Gatwick Express services and some South Central services running on a diversionary route via Herne Hill, with other services replaced by buses.                            Mr Armitt continued: “This is the railway’s own Christmas tradition of taking advantage of the two day Christmas break enabling large quantities of essential work to be carried out whilst causing very little disruption to train services. “These windows of opportunity are essential to the continued maintenance and renewal needed on the nation’s infrastructure.  During these times, however, we will be doing our utmost to ensure disruption to passengers and those living beside the railway is kept to a minimum.”

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - National
020 3356 8700

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: