Last chance for rail passengers to plan journeys ahead of £160m Christmas investment work: calendar-closures-web-01

Monday 18 Dec 2017

Last chance for rail passengers to plan journeys ahead of £160m Christmas investment work

  • Network Rail will be working to deliver more than 260 projects across Britain over Christmas
  • The £160m investment is crucial to providing more frequent, faster services and help relieve over-crowding
  • Service restrictions will be in place from Saturday 23rd December to 1st January

Rail passengers preparing for their Christmas getaway this week are being issued a final reminder to plan their journeys.

In just five days’ time, Network Rail will start its multi-million pound Christmas investment programme that, once completed, will make way for thousands of better, more frequent and faster services in the months ahead. 

In some parts of the country, work will begin on Saturday 23 December this year to give engineers four clear days to make uninterrupted progress on vital projects, so passengers should check their journeys for this coming weekend in advance.

While for many, Christmas and New Year will be spent celebrating with friends and family, a 32,000 strong workforce will be out in all weathers across the country, helping to build a bigger and better railway.

Overall, there will be less disruption for rail users this Christmas as the majority of work has been scheduled for when no trains are planned to run, such as on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The majority of the rail network remains open for business however, with approximately 95 percent unaffected by the investment programme.

A significant milestone this holiday season will be the opening of the street-level concourse and newly rebuilt platforms at London Bridge, which passengers will see when they return to work in the New Year.

Mark Carne, chief executive at Network Rail, said:

“Our Railway Upgrade Plan is the biggest in a hundred years. A number of massively complex and hugely challenging projects are on the home straight. These will bring faster journeys, more comfort and greater reliability to millions of people who rely on the railway.

“Christmas is the quietest period for train travel. Our team, therefore, will be out in force throughout the festive period improving the railway.

“While we are keeping 95 percent of the network open, some routes will be affected by our upgrade works. Please make your travel plans before setting off.”

Main service impacts:

*As usual, no trains will run on Christmas Day and a limited service will run on Boxing Day*

 Crossrail East

 A number of major upgrades are being carried out by Network Rail on this section of the Great Eastern main line to Norwich out of London Liverpool Street, including vital work in preparation for the arrival of the new Elizabeth line (Crossrail) services.  

The Crossrail project will provide new trains, better stations and quicker, easier, more reliable journeys for passengers in east London and Essex. The London end of the Great Eastern main line will be closed from 23 December to 1 January inclusive, impacting services to Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich.

Crossrail West

A number of major upgrades are being carried out by Network Rail on the lines out of London Paddington in preparation for the arrival of the new Elizabeth line services. London Paddington will be closed from 24 December to 27 December inclusive with an amended service in place from 28 December to 1 January inclusive.

Thameslink Programme 

London Bridge (Southeastern platforms), Charing Cross, Cannon Street and Waterloo East will be closed and services will not run between Blackfriars and St Pancras International from 23 December to 1 January for the final major phase of Thameslink Programme. Following this Christmas work, the transformation of London Bridge station will be completed as the final platforms (1-5) and sections of concourse are opened for the first time. 

Redhill junction renewal

Two of the four lines from London Victoria to Brighton will be closed from 24 December to 1 January inclusive. Victoria station will be closed on both 25 and 26 December.

Larger pieces of work are planned for bank holidays as they are generally quieter periods with up to 50 percent fewer passengers travelling by rail, minimising the impact of any disruption as much as possible.

Passengers are advised to check  for a full list of service alterations or follow #ChristmasBHWorks on Twitter.

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 - Lisa Russell
Senior media relations manager
Network Rail
07734 649250

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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