Kent and south east London rail passengers reminded to check before they travel this Christmas: Check before you travel - 24 December 2016 to 2 January 2017

Monday 19 Dec 2016

Kent and south east London rail passengers reminded to check before they travel this Christmas

South East

With less than a week before Christmas, passengers are being reminded to plan ahead and check before they travel as Network Rail invests £11m as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan in the south east.

Nearly 2,700 members of the engineering orange army will be working across London and the south east this festive season to deliver improvements which will help increase capacity, reduce delays and improve reliability of rail services.

The engineering team will work almost 30,000 hours collectively, beginning on the morning of Christmas Eve, as it falls on a Saturday this year. This will mean significant changes to many Southeastern services and both Thameslink and Southern services will stop running earlier than usual.

Information about changes to services over this time can be found at via National Rail Enquiries

John Halsall, Network Rail South East route managing director, said: “With Christmas nearly upon us, my teams are gearing up to work around the clock to improve the railway infrastructure in the south east for the hundreds of thousands of passengers that use it every day. By starting work on Christmas Eve, our engineers will have four full days to get the work done when there are fewer passengers travelling.

“The work we are doing is part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan which will help improve the reliability of the network on the south east and keep passengers moving.

“I would like to thank passengers for their patience while we carry out this essential work and urge people to check before they travel this Christmas.”

David Statham, managing director of Southeastern Railway, said: “There will be changes to Southeastern trains over the festive period to accommodate improvement work taking place by Network Rail. We are encouraging passengers to check their journey before they travel and in particular we urge passengers to check the last trains on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. These, and all the details about station closures and the amended timetable is on our website Until the completion of London Bridge station in 2018, work on the programme continues on weekends and bank holidays, including some major work at the end of August 2017. Stay up to date by visiting our website and following us on twitter @SE_Railway.”

Upgrade work in detail

At London Bridge, Network Rail continues to rebuild the country’s fourth-busiest station and the surrounding railway as part of the Thameslink Programme. Significant progress has been made since August, when two-thirds of the new concourse opened and rebuilt platforms 7-9 came into use. Platforms 1 – 4 have been demolished to allow the team to build the final part of the street-level concourse. Over Christmas and New Year, the orange army will continue rebuilding the platforms and the new concourse beneath, which will open in January 2018.

At the same time, the first track through the new Bermondsey dive under – a major new junction on the approaches to London Bridge, similar to a motorway flyover or underpass, which will cut delays and allow more trains to run in future – will be prepared to bring into use early in the New Year.

At New Cross, Network Rail engineers will be rebuilding another key junction, replacing the points which allow trains to switch from one track to another, installing new track and modernising the power supply which serves the electric trains.

In Kent, a major project to improve the railway through Sevenoaks tunnel, just south of the station, also takes place over the Christmas weekend. This two-mile long tunnel is the longest main line tunnel in the south east – and one of the wettest, which can cause problems for train services. Over four days from the morning of Christmas Eve to the early hours of 28 December, Network Rail engineers will be dig up and replace the drainage system through the tunnel, while also repairing brickwork and the lining of some of the 13 ventilation shafts within the tunnel.

During the quieter Christmas and New Year period, planned works will also take place on public transport and road networks across London. To get around and make the most of the festive season, passengers should allow plenty of time for their journey and plan ahead at or, or check with their train operator.

August 2017 – major changes to services:

Network Rail has also announced major improvement work taking place in August 2017 as it continues to rebuild London Bridge station as part of the Thameslink Programme.

The work being proposed will take place from 26 August to 3 September 2017. It is the penultimate major piece of work at London Bridge and will affect services to Charing Cross, Waterloo East, Cannon Street and London Bridge.

If you are organising next year’s holiday, you might want to keep these dates in mind. Further information will be available soon.


Notes to editors

Christmas 2016 changes to services:

Changes to Southeastern services:

Saturday 24 December, Christmas Eve

  • There are no trains at Charing Cross, Waterloo East, St Johns and New Cross
  • Only Hastings trains will be going to and from London Bridge
  • There is a very limited service to and from Cannon Street with only Greenwich Line trains running
  • Trains are diverted to Victoria or Blackfriars and will be busier than usual

Trains will stop running earlier than usual on Christmas Eve so please check before you travel and be aware that last trains will be particularly busy.

Sunday 25 December, Christmas Day

There are no trains running across the network.

Monday 26 December, Boxing Day

High speed trains will be running half-hourly between Gravesend and St Pancras between 08:00 and 20:00.

Tuesday 27 December, Bank Holiday 

  • There are no trains at Charing Cross, Waterloo East, St Johns and New Cross
  • Only Hasting trains will be going to and from London Bridge
  • There is a very limited service to and from Cannon Street with only Greenwich Line trains running
  • Trains are diverted to Victoria or Blackfriars and will be busier than usual

Changes over 28 - 31st December 2016

Wednesday 28, Thursday 29 and Friday 30 December 2016 there will be a Saturday style service so check times before travelling.

Saturday 31 December, New Year’s Eve

  • Waterloo East station will close at 23:45 and there are no Southeastern trains at Blackfriars on this day
  • There are no trains after 02:45 (early hours of 01 January) from Charing Cross, Waterloo East, Cannon Street, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill and Westcombe Park
  • We will be running extra late trains from Victoria on New Year’s Eve
  • Last train times are available at

Changes over 01 - 02 January 2017 

  • Sunday 01 January, New Year’s Day – 02 January 2017, Bank Holiday
  • There are no Southeastern services from Charing Cross, Waterloo East, Cannon Street, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill and Westcombe Park
  • Only Hastings trains to and from London Bridge (via East Croydon)
  • There are some additional/diverted services to/from Victoria or Blackfriars
  • There are also some additional closures elsewhere on the Southeastern network on 1 January. More information will be published soon

Changes to Thameslink, Southern and Gatwick Express services:

Saturday 24 December, Christmas Eve

  • There is a reduced service operating and trains will stop running earlier than usual. On Southern trains, due to ongoing industrial relations, there may be fewer services running so please check for detailed, up to date information.

Sunday 25 December, Christmas Day

  • There are no services across the network

Monday 26 December,

  • No Thameslink trains will run. A reduced service will on Gatwick Express and Southern lines.

Tuesday 27 December – Monday 2 January

  • There will be some alterations; please check National Railway Enquiries or the train operating company website.



About Thameslink Programme

The Thameslink Programme is  transforming north-south travel through London. When complete in 2018 it will give passengers:

  • New longer and more spacious trains running every 2 to 3 minutes through central London in the peak
  • Improved connections and better options to more destinations on an expanded Thameslink network including Cambridge and Peterborough
  • More robust tracks and state-of-the art signalling and more reliable trains to make journeys more reliable
  • Completely rebuilt stations at Blackfriars and London Bridge 

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 - Alexandra Swann
07734 650735

About Network Rail

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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