Major changes to trains this Christmas
Passengers are being urged to check before travelling over the Christmas period as a major programme of improvement work on the railway at London Bridge means that train services will be subject to planned changes.
The Thameslink Programme, part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan, will be continuing to rebuild the railway and station at London Bridge as part of the ongoing project to improve the reliability and frequency of services on one of the country’s busiest railways.
The changes, affecting Southeastern trains at Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Waterloo East and London Bridge, will begin at 1pm on Christmas Eve, with services stopping at 8pm. From 8pm on Christmas Eve, until Sunday, 3 January 2016 there will be no Southeastern trains at these stations, with services diverted to and from Victoria, Blackfriars and New Cross. There will be other stations on the network that may not have trains during this period, tickets will be accepted on alternative routes and rail replacement buses will be in operation.
Thameslink Programme director Simon Blanchflower said: “With more and more people travelling by rail every day, our work to modernise and expand the railway is absolutely vital to the region’s economic health.
“At London Bridge, we’re working round the clock every day, every night and every weekend to rebuild the railway. However, there are some aspects of our work that are so large in scale that we have to close the railway to trains. The work this Christmas involves opening a new railway viaduct for the first time, laying new track, removing old track and bringing new signalling into use.
“I’m sorry that our work means changes to services over Christmas and New Year, but with fewer passengers travelling than at other periods, this gives us the best opportunity to do this improvement work – a crucial part of our Railway Upgrade Plan – while minimising disruption to passengers.”
Southeastern’s managing director David Statham said: “The major rebuilding work being undertaken by Network Rail at London Bridge will mean our London services are affected over the Christmas period.
“This will mean that for 10 days from Christmas Eve evening there will be no trains to or from Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Waterloo East or London Bridge and all services will be diverted to and from Victoria, Blackfriars and New Cross. We will be operating a revised timetable at this time, including on Christmas Eve day and New Year’s Eve evening.
“While the Christmas period is less busy on the railways, this work will also include three normal working days between Christmas and New Year so I would encourage people to check before they travel and to leave more time for their journey where necessary. Alternative ticketing arrangements have been made so check our website before you travel.”
This work, which will be completed in time for trains to resume on Monday, 4 January 2016, is part of the scheme to rebuild London Bridge station and the surrounding railway to give passengers across the south east more trains to more destinations, more reliably. It includes the opening of the new Borough Viaduct to trains so work can begin to rebuild the tracks currently used by trains travelling between London Bridge and Charing Cross.
There will be changes to many trains across the UK as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan. In addition to the work at London Bridge, a major project to rebuild the railway near Croydon will be taking place at Christmas. This will mean there will be no trains between South Croydon and Redhill between late evening on Christmas Eve and 3 January 2016. Passengers from Kent travelling to Gatwick Airport and other parts of Sussex will be able to take trains via Tonbridge and Redhill, but may need to allow extra time for their journeys.
In addition there will be some changes to London Overground services between Christmas Day and 28 December as a result of Crossrail work at Whitechapel. This will affect services between South London and Highbury and Islington.
To find out more about what’s happening across the network, visit National Rail’s Christmas information page.