Network Rail encourages passengers to plan journeys early ahead of Christmas upgrade work: Waterloo International Terminal  (Artist's impression)

Monday 14 Nov 2016

Network Rail encourages passengers to plan journeys early ahead of Christmas upgrade work

South East

Network Rail is advising passengers to the south and west of London to plan their journeys as early as possible this Christmas. This is ahead of a programme of upgrade work taking place on the country’s rail network over the Christmas period.

From 24 December to the early hours of 27 December, and from 1-2 January, this essential programme of investment will deliver another slice of the £800 million Waterloo & South West Upgrade that will eventually provide a 30% capacity boost at London’s Waterloo station.

Passengers travelling on South West Trains should be aware that services will begin to wind down on the evening of 24 December, with Waterloo station closed by 8pm so passengers are advised to complete their journeys well in advance of this and as early as possible. A number of platforms will also be out of use during the day to prepare for maintenance works. Services return on the morning of 27 December and will operate an amended service until 3 January when all lines are expected to return to a normal service. In addition, South West Trains will be operating a number of late night services over New Year’s Eve.

Becky Lumlock, route managing director at Network Rail said, “Waterloo is already the busiest station in Britain and the number of passengers using the railway is continuing to grow, so it’s essential that we make the most of opportunities such as Christmas, when passenger numbers drop by up to 50%, to invest in improving the railway for passengers through our Railway Upgrade Plan.

“Over the festive period we’ll be investing £4.5 million to complete a number of improvements in and around the Waterloo area which are vital to delivering the £800 million Waterloo and South West Upgrade.

“The vast majority of the network to the south and west of London will remain open, but there will be changes to services throughout the festive period and journeys may take longer, which is why we want passengers to plan their journeys as early as possible.”

Upgrades to be delivered over Christmas include replacing sets of points (the equipment which allows trains to move between tracks) at Queenstown Road, and work on platforms 1-4 at London Waterloo. In total, the equivalent of over 15,000 hours will go into completing the upgrades over Christmas.

Christian Roth, Managing Director of South West Trains, said: “The vast majority of our network is open across the festive season but we do advise passengers to check ahead of their journey. 

“On New Year’s Eve we are running some extra services to help passengers enjoy the festivities. As well as there being no major engineering work planned during the day and a near normal Saturday service running, a special service will run after midnight which we hope will make things easier for those travelling to see in the new year.”

A breakdown of how journeys may be affected can be found by visiting and following #ChristmasWorks 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 - Wessex Route
07710 959476

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.

Every day, there are more than 4.7 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.

We are building a better railway for a better Britain.

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