The vast majority of the rail network will be open for business as usual this Christmas and New Year as more improvement work is targeted at times that has less impact on passengers.
Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “Our passengers want and deserve a more reliable railway and that’s why this Christmas we are out working on track and behind the scenes to help make that happen.
“Significantly fewer people travel over the Christmas holidays, which is why we do so much work at this time of year. But we know some of our passengers will have important plans, so please check before you travel. We have plenty of people in our stations in the run up to and over the break who are on hand to help.”
While most lines are open as normal, a small handful will be significantly impacted. Passengers on those routes are advised to check before they travel over the Christmas and New Year period, especially if using services into and out of London Paddington.
20,560 railway staff will deliver some 386 projects over the festive period. The major projects include:
- Multiple major upgrade works at London King’s Cross, including tunnel and structure work, drainage inspection and upgrading overhead line equipment, resulting in improved capacity, reliability and operational flexibility. The majority of these works will take place over Christmas Day and Boxing Day. On Friday 27 December, train operators will have limited access into King’s Cross at the start of service until 13:00, and they will be running a reduced timetable.
- Track renewals, switches and crossings and overhead line works between London Paddington and Slough. This will mean no trains from London Paddington between 24-27 December, and a reduced timetable between 28-31 December.
- Switches and crossings renewal works at Ashford International to improve track quality and reduce delays caused by track faults. This means Southeastern Highspeed and Eurostar services will not stop at Ashford between 26-29 December. Mainline services will run but some will be subject to change.
- Re-railing and track maintenance work between London Liverpool Street and Hackney Downs to improve service reliability. On 26 December Stansted Airport services will start and terminate at Tottenham Hale. Greater Anglia and Arriva Rail London services will run between 27-29 December but will divert around the works on the fast lines.