Less than one week to go: check before you travel this Christmas

With less than a week before Christmas, remember to plan ahead and check before you travel as Network Rail carries out improvement work in the south east.

Nearly 2,700 members of the engineering orange army will be working across London and the south east this festive season to deliver improvements which will help increase capacity, reduce delays and improve reliability of rail services.

The engineering team will work almost 30,000 hours collectively, beginning on the morning of Christmas Eve, as it falls on a Saturday this year. This will mean significant changes to many Southeastern services, and changes both Thameslink and Southern services will stop running earlier than usual on Christmas Eve.

Information about changes to services over this time can be found at via National Rail Enquiries www.nationalrail.co.uk/christmas or on our Christmas and New Year 2016 page.

John Halsall, Network Rail South East route managing director, said: “With Christmas nearly upon us, my teams are gearing up to work around the clock to improve the railway infrastructure in the south east for the hundreds of thousands of passengers that use it every day. By starting work on Christmas Eve, our engineers will have four full days to get the work done when there are fewer passengers travelling.

“The work we are doing is part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan which will help improve the reliability of the network on the south east and keep passengers moving.

“I would like to thank passengers for their patience while we carry out this essential work and urge people to check before they travel this Christmas.”

David Statham, managing director of Southeastern Railway, said: “There will be changes to Southeastern trains over the festive period to accommodate improvement work taking place by Network Rail. We are encouraging passengers to check their journey before they travel and in particular we urge passengers to check the last trains on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. These, and all the details about station closures and the amended timetable is on our website southeasternrailway.co.uk/Christmas. Until the completion of London Bridge station in 2018, work on the programme continues on weekends and bank holidays, including some major work at the end of August 2017. Stay up to date by visiting our website and following us on twitter @SE_Railway.”

Upgrade work in detail

At London Bridge, Network Rail continues to rebuild the country’s fourth-busiest station and the surrounding railway as part of the Thameslink Programme. Significant progress has been made since August, when two-thirds of the new concourse opened and rebuilt platforms 7-9 came into use. Platforms 1 – 4 have been demolished to allow the team to build the final part of the street-level concourse. Over Christmas and New Year, the Orange Army will continue rebuilding the platforms and the new concourse beneath, which will open in January 2018.

At the same time, the first track through the new Bermondsey Dive Under – a major new junction on the approaches to London Bridge, similar to a motorway flyover or underpass, which will cut delays and allow more trains to run in future – will be prepared to bring into use early in the New Year.

During the quieter Christmas and New Year period, planned works will also take place on public transport and road networks across London. To get around and make the most of the festive season, passengers should allow plenty of time for their journey and plan ahead at tfl.gov.uk/festive-travel or nationalrail.co.uk/christmas, or check with their train operator.

August 2017 – major changes to services:

Network Rail has also announced major improvement work taking place in August 2017 as it continues to rebuild London Bridge station as part of the Thameslink Programme.

The work being proposed will take place from 26 August to 3 September 2017. It is the penultimate major piece of work at London Bridge and will affect services to Charing Cross, Waterloo East, Cannon Street and London Bridge.

If you are organising next year’s holiday, you might want to keep these dates in mind. Further information will be available on our 2017 changes to services page soon.