West Coast main line: Christmas travel clear – upgrades in New Year: Avanti West Coast train passing Willesden track upgrade worksite March 2021

Thursday 25 Nov 2021

West Coast main line: Christmas travel clear – upgrades in New Year

Region & Route:
North West & Central
| North West & Central: West Coast Mainline South
  • Christmas and New Year bank holiday journeys free from disruptive railway upgrades
  • Advance warning of work between 4-12 January between Milton Keynes and Rugby
  • Please ‘look before you book’ to know your travel options
  • Passengers should wear a face covering in busy indoor settings unless they are exempt

Passengers using the West Coast main line between London Euston and Crewe can rely on the railway to get home to loved ones this Christmas during railway improvement work.

This year major bank holiday upgrades will take place on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, when traditionally the railway shuts down for a festive face-lift*.

However, passengers are being given advance notice of upcoming essential work after the holiday season is over.

Between 4-12 January, major flood protection upgrades will improve future journeys on the West Coast main line between Milton Keynes and Rugby.

The work will prevent heavy rain from flooding tracks, making the economically important rail route more reliable for passengers and freight.

James Dean, Network Rail’s West Coast South route director, said: “We’ve worked hard with train operators to reduce the impact of our railway upgrade work on passengers so that they can spend time with their families and friends this Christmas and New Year.

“We do have major work approaching in January which we’re letting people know about early on - so it doesn’t come as a surprise. Fortunately, we can use a diversionary route so passengers can stay on the move, but there will be fewer services, longer journey times or some passengers may need to change trains.”

Between 4-12 January, trains will be diverted via Northampton to bypass the 4km long trackside drainage upgrades.

This will add around 25 minutes onto West Coast main line journeys for Avanti West Coast customers.

London Northwestern Railway passengers travelling between Crewe and Euston will need to change trains at Rugby and it will run fewer services.

Passengers are urged to check www.nationalrail.co.uk and plan their journeys in advance.

Lawrence Bowman, customer experience director for London Northwestern Railway, said: “These essential maintenance projects over Christmas and New Year will improve the reliability of our rail infrastructure and reduce the likelihood of delays in the future. I urge customers to plan their rail travel in advance during the West Coast Main Line work near Milton Keynes in January when some journeys will take longer.”

Gus Dunster, executive director of operations and safety at Avanti West Coast, said: “As Network Rail carry out essential works near Milton Keynes in January, there’ll be changes to our services and extended journey times to and from London Euston. We strongly recommend you make a reservation, plan your journey in advance as well as check the National Rail Enquiries website before travelling.”

For the national picture on railway upgrades this Christmas and New Year, read more here:

Or passengers can find out how their journeys will be affected with their train operator, via National Rail Enquiries, or by following #ChristmasRailWorks on Twitter.

Meanwhile, enhanced cleaning procedures will remain in place at London Euston to stop the spread of Covid-19. To find out more  visit: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/coronavirus/.

Passengers who can are expected to wear a face covering in busy stations and on trains so everyone can travel in confidence. For the latest Government advice visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Notes to Editors

*Christmas Day and Boxing Day

There has not been a standard service on Christmas Day for around 60 years, and no service at all for the last 40 years. There is a limited service on Boxing Day and operators work with Network Rail on a timetable where there is demand from people to travel. Planning the majority of engineering work on both these dates helps to limit the impact on passengers.

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 - North West & Central Region
07740 782954

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.

Usually, there are almost five 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.

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