Passengers and shoppers invited to attend reindeer meet and greet and retailer giveaway at London Paddington station: Reindeer

Monday 12 Dec 2016

Passengers and shoppers invited to attend reindeer meet and greet and retailer giveaway at London Paddington station

  • Passengers and shoppers invited to attend reindeer meet and greet and retailer giveaway at London Paddington station
  • Network Rail will be investing £103m in improving and upgrading the rail network over the Christmas period
  • Passengers travelling from the west are advised to plan ahead as upgrade work means Paddington will have no overground trains running between December 24 and 29 (inclusive).

Passengers and shoppers at London Paddington are in for a festive treat on Monday as two of Santa’s reindeer arrive at the station to remind everyone travelling from the west to plan their journey this Christmas.

The reindeer, called Bubble and Primo, will be joined by Percy the owl over the lunch period (10am-2pm) as Christmas comes early to London Paddington ahead of Network Rail’s biggest ever festive upgrade, which will see £103 million invested into the railway and up to 200 projects delivered over the holiday period.

The upgrade means there will be no train services in or out of London Paddington from 24 to 29 December (inclusive), with a reduced timetable between 30 December and 2 January (inclusive). Passengers arriving from the west will see services start and end at Ealing Broadway during the closure although retail units at the station will remain open, and London Underground and other Transport for London services will still run.

The reindeer event is being hosted by Network Rail and train operator Great Western Railway (GWR), to remind passengers to plan their journeys this Christmas. The changes are necessary as Network Rail upgrades the railway as part of the Crossrail project.

Richard Griffiths, Network Rail’s head of communications for the Crossrail project said: “Successful completion of these Christmas works is not only vital to delivering the Crossrail project, but is an integral part of our Railway Upgrade Plan as we continue to enhance the capacity and reliability of our railway.

“However, we can't carry out major upgrades to the railway while still running trains – and it is a simple fact that over the Christmas holidays, the number of passengers drops by up to 50% on key commuter routes.

“This will mean changes to services over the festive period, so we strongly advise passengers to plan their journeys as early as possible.”

GWR Paddington station manager Dave Martin said: "These improvement works will ultimately increase capacity and connectivity in London and the Thames Valley, and on the wider Great Western network. New trains are already in operation on some GWR routes and more are on their way during the course of 2017 and 2018 – delivering more seats and more frequent services.

“We have worked closely with our colleagues at Network Rail to keep disruption to a minimum; however we urge customer to travel early and to note that we will not be able to run trains between London Paddington and Ealing Broadway for four days from and including Christmas Eve. We strongly advise customers with luggage, children or who require assisted travel, to use London Marylebone, Euston or Waterloo.”

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

A breakdown of how journeys may be affected can be found by visiting and following #ChristmasWorks on Twitter



About the event:


  • Reindeers Bubble and Primo and Percy the owl will be at Paddington Station from 10am until 2pm on Monday, 12 December.
  • Media are invited to attend – to register your interest contact
  • Network Rail spokespeople will be available for interview

More information about services out of London Paddington Station:


Major upgrades to the rail network services in 2017 means there will be no services between London Paddington and Ealing Broadway, from Christmas Eve to Thursday 29 December. Trains will start and end at Ealing Broadway where you can change on to the London Underground. As there is no step-free access, GWR tickets will also be valid via the following London stations:

  • Euston: to and from the Hereford area (change at Birmingham New Street) 
  • Marylebone: to and from the Oxford area (change at Oxford)
  • Waterloo: to and from Bristol, South Wales, the South West and Basingstoke (change at Reading)

A reduced timetable will also operate between 30th December and 2nd January.


Animal welfare:


The Reindeer Hire Company travel under full License from Animal Health and DEFRA and holds a performing Animal License from its Local Authority, Essex County Council. The reindeer live on their farm all year round and all of the qualified staff work with them and throughout the year. This means that not only do their qualifications make them fit to look after them, but they are also well aware of their behavioural characteristics and mood.

They enjoy access to their own pasture and stabling all year round and are looked after to the highest welfare standards, meaning that they are happy and relaxed and used to meeting the public when they commence ‘duties’ for the festive season. Percy the owl is captive bred and has been raised by the company since it was 20 days old. It has an A10 Certificate and is registered with the IBR, and all of their birds are handled and fed every day.

For more information, please visit  


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 -Western route
01793 389749

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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