One month to go, have you made your Christmas travel plans?

One month to go, have you made your Christmas travel plans?

Passengers arriving at City Thameslink station last week were treated with gingerbread reindeer to remind them not to make their Christmas travel plans on the hoof this year, but to plan ahead as Network Rail prepares for a £160m Christmas investment programme.

While most people are enjoying Christmas and New Year with friends and family, a team of over 1100 Network Rail engineers will be working around the clock at London Bridge station and on the surrounding railway, as the Thameslink Programme prepares to reach its next significant milestone – the opening of the final section of the huge new street-level concourse and newly rebuilt platforms 1-5 at London Bridge.

From Saturday 23 December until Monday 1 January there will be significant line and station closures affecting Southeastern, Thameslink, Southern and Gatwick Express services, as well as other train operators. No services will run in the south east on Christmas Day or Boxing Day, including High Speed trains to and from St Pancras International.

Passengers travelling into central London during the festive period, or to Gatwick Airport on Boxing Day, could be severely impacted by the work and will need a ‘plan B’ to complete their journeys. Passengers are advised to check before they travel and make detailed travel plans by visiting

As part of Network Rail’s biggest ever Christmas investment programme, improvement works are taking place across the rail network and passengers need to plan their journeys as early as possible. A breakdown of how some journeys will be affected can be found by visiting and following #ChristmasBHWorks on Twitter.

John Halsall Network Rail’s South East route managing director, said: “This Christmas heralds a huge milestone for the Thameslink Programme and many benefits for the millions of passengers who use London Bridge station each year, as we open up the final section of the brand new concourse and the newly rebuilt platforms one to five. Moving into 2018, there will still be some work to do, but January marks the start of the final countdown to the completion of this modern station with better facilities, new journey options and– throughout 2018 – a vast array of new retail facilities to continue the regeneration of the area.”

Nick Brown, Chief Operating Officer for Govia Thameslink Railway which operates Thameslink, Southern and Gatwick Express, said: “This work is a vital part of our plans to modernise the railway to give passengers, from May 2018, brand new, reliable timetables, extended routes, additional services and new trains. As well as more general changes at Christmas, we won’t be able to run any trains to Gatwick on Boxing Day this year so I urge passengers to check before they travel and consider alternatives.”

Ellie Burrows, Train Services Director, Southeastern, said: “We’re delighted that this Christmas sees us moving ever closer to the conclusion of the Thameslink Programme works. From 2 January our weekday commuter services are back in full. Cannon Street trains will once again be stopping at London Bridge and we have a new timetable on most Southeastern routes. I’d encourage all our passengers to check their times in advance, both over Christmas, when we are running far fewer trains than normal with many services running to a different London terminus, and also for the new schedules starting on 2 January.”

After the Christmas and New Year period begins the countdown to the completion of the transformation of London Bridge. There will still be work to do in the station and on the tracks, but this will be completed during evenings and weekends, rather than working days. Once complete, London Bridge will be a modern, spacious and fully accessible station, fit for the 21st century and able to support the new timetables, meaning better journeys, more reliable services for passengers and, from May 2018, Thameslink services returning to London Bridge for the first time in over three years, serving a range of  new destinations.