Tuesday 1 Nov 2016
Network Rail encourages passengers to plan journeys early ahead of Christmas upgrade work
Passengers are being advised to plan their journey to and from London Paddington as early as possible this Christmas ahead of Network Rail’s biggest ever Christmas upgrade.
The programme of upgrade work will cause disruption to services across Great Western main line and west London with up to 200 projects being delivered across the UK over this holiday period.
This essential programme of investment is part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan that provides more and faster services to help relieve over-crowding and responds to the tremendous growth encountered on Britain's railways.
There will be disruption to services out of London Paddington from the early hours on Christmas Eve through to Tuesday 3 January which means that passengers travelling to and from London need to interchange at Ealing Broadway station up until Thursday 29 December.
There will be no Heathrow Express services from the station and Great Western Railway services will be terminating at Ealing Broadway from Christmas Eve until Thursday 29 December. There will be reduced train services from Friday 30 December to Tuesday 3 January
Phil Hufton, managing director England & Wales at Network Rail, said: “Work takes place all year round as part of our railway upgrade plan, but we usually carry out larger upgrades over bank holidays as this is when passenger numbers are at their lowest. This Christmas will see significant investment in our railway with thousands of Network Rail’s orange army working hard to deliver hundreds of crucial projects to improve Britain’s railways. This will mean changes to services over the festive period, so we strongly advise passengers to plan their journeys as early as possible.
“Despite our essential upgrades the vast majority of the rail network, more than 90%, remains unaffected and will be open for business as usual. This vital investment will make the railway more reliable for years to come, while improving journeys for thousands of passengers. There’s never a good time to impact on journeys and I’d like to thank passengers in advance for their patience.”
Larger pieces of work are planned for bank holidays as they are generally quieter periods with fewer – up to 50% fewer – passengers travelling by rail. Work on a few major projects will begin on Christmas Eve, a Saturday this year and a quieter time for rail travel, giving engineers and maintenance teams four clear days to make significant progress on major projects that will deliver numerous passenger benefits.
Passengers are being advised to plan their journeys more carefully this year as there will be significant changes to train services out of London Paddington and London Liverpool Street. A breakdown of how journeys may be affected can be found by visiting nationalrail.co.uk/Christmas and following #ChristmasWorks on Twitter.
Notes to editors:
Additional information on large-scale projects being delivered this Christmas:
- Description: Work taking place at several sites on Crossrail’s western section with work beginning in the early hours of Christmas Eve through to the morning of Tuesday 3 January, including: between Paddington and Acton; Acton and Stockley; and Stockley and Ruscombe. London Underground will also be installing new equipment at Earls Court and carrying out upgrade work on parts of the line
- Impact: There will be disruption to services out of London Paddington from the early hours on Christmas Eve through to Tuesday 3 January which means that passengers travelling to and from London need to interchange at Ealing Broadway station up until Thursday 29 December. There will be no Heathrow Express services from the station and Great Western Railway services will be terminating at Ealing Broadway from Christmas Eve until Thursday 29 December. There will be reduced train services from Friday 30 December to Tuesday 3 January
The following are some of the biggest projects being delivered this Christmas:
- Crossrail West: Work taking place between Old Oak Common, Stockley, Hayes, Acton and Maidenhead sees significant changes to services out of London Paddington from Christmas Eve including services to Heathrow
Crossrail East: Major upgrades in preparation for new services in 2017 will mean that bus replacements and diversions will be in place as the line is closed between London Liverpool Street and Ingatestone/Billericay from 23 December until 4 January
- Northern Hub: Large scale work taking place on Manchester’s Ordsall Chord project will mean bus replacements and diversions from Oxford Road station from 18 December to early hours on 28 December
- Thameslink: Major improvement work on the approaches to London Bridge means there will be no Southeastern services to London Bridge and Charing Cross from 24-28 December or to Cannon Street from 24-27 December.
- Cardiff Area Signalling Renewal: This Christmas will see significant work in the Cardiff area as new signalling and tracks are brought on-stream. There will be no train services late on Christmas Eve between Cardiff Central, Bridgend, Newport and the Valleys and there will be bus replacements and diversions in place between Cardiff Central, Bridgend, Newport and the Valleys from 27 December until 3 January
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.