Passengers across Wales and Borders urged to check before they travel this Christmas and New Year: South Wales Mainline Upgrade

Tuesday 13 Nov 2018

Passengers across Wales and Borders urged to check before they travel this Christmas and New Year

Region & Route:
Wales and Western

Passengers travelling between Newport and Bristol and between Newport and Gloucester are advised to check before travelling this Christmas and New Year, as Network Rail engineers work around the clock to modernise the South Wales Main Line.

How are journeys affected?

From the evening of Monday 24 December 2018 until the 2 January 2019:

  • Buses will replace trains between Newport and Gloucester
  • Buses will replace trains between Newport and Bristol Parkway
  • There will be platform changes for Valley Line services from Cardiff Central.

Network Rail is also carrying out essential maintenance work on the Valley Lines over the festive period. This means an amended timetable will be in operation on these lines between 24 December and 2 January*.

Passengers are urged to plan ahead and check their journey with

Bill Kelly, route managing director for Network Rail in Wales and Borders, said: “We would like to thank passengers for bearing with us this Christmas and New Year as over 700 of our railway workers across Wales and Borders work around the clock to deliver crucial upgrades to the network.

“We are working closely with our train operating partners to minimise disruption, and while most of the rail network across Wales and Borders is open for business as usual, some routes are affected. There is also essential rail upgrade work taking place across Britain, so we strongly advise passengers to plan ahead.”

GWR operations manager Rob Mullen said: “We advise customers to plan their journey in advance at, and with work at London Paddington and London Waterloo, those travelling through London to travel on or before 22 December if possible.

“While we recognise the disruption this work will cause, and thank passengers in advance for their understanding, it is vital to enable us to run more of our brand new Intercity Express Trains.

“These new trains are already delivering more seats, and will after timetable improvements agreed by Network Rail, deliver more frequent and quicker services, on more modern and reliable infrastructure.”

Colin Lea Commercial and Customer Experience Director for Transport for Wales said: “It’s important for customers to plan their journeys carefully this Christmas and New Year with essential engineering work taking place.

“This work is crucial for the long term improvement of the railway but equally we recognise customers will be affected and we will be doing all we can to minimise the disruption in partnership with Network Rail.

“National Rail websites, station booking offices, our journey check site -, our twitter account and our bilingual help centre based in north Wales can all help when planning your travel.”

Over the Christmas and New Year period, over 7,700 workforce hours will be spent delivering vital rail enhancements and maintenance across Wales and Borders.  The work taking place between Newport and Bristol forms part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan to modernise the South Wales Main Line.

Once complete in 2019, the modernisation will enable GWR's new fleet of Intercity Express Trains to run between London and Cardiff on electricity, improving journeys for passengers and creating a quieter environment for lineside neighbours.

Upgrade work taking place elsewhere on the rail network will also affect passengers travelling to and from Wales:

Sunday 23 to Wednesday 26, and Sunday 30 December:

Renewal of a junction near Southall means that there will be no direct trains to or from London Paddington and GWR services will start and terminate at Reading. Instead, passengers are advised to use the South Western Railway service between Reading and London Waterloo.

Sunday 23 December to Thursday 3 January:

Track renewal work is taking place near Westbury meaning that Cardiff to Portsmouth services will not travel through Westbury. Instead passengers will need to use rail replacement buses between Trowbridge – Westbury – Warminster.

Train services between Bristol and Trowbridge, and between Warminster and Portsmouth, will run to an amended timetable.

Rail replacement buses will also run between Westbury and Chippenham.

Passengers are advised that upgrade work will be taking place across the Great British rail network. A breakdown of how journeys will be affected can be found by visiting and following #XmasRailWorks on Twitter.

Notes to Editors


  • *Passengers are advised to check their journey four weeks before travelling for the updated timetable.

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 - Bryony Parry
Media Relations Manager
07734 649220

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