End of year rail disruption

By | Category: Travel rumblings
no trains to Paddington for a few days

no trains to Paddington for a few days

Railway companies seem to be of the firm belief that their passengers don’t travel over Christmas. Without fail, Network Rail and the companies plan timetables akin to Sunday services and schedule engineering works that mean unbelievable disruption at a time when festive bonhomie is supposed to ride high.

If 90% of roadworks can be lifted because the transport authorities can see there will be more traffic why can’t the railway boffins  think similarly? But they don’t convinced as they are  that there will be less demand and fewer railway passengers. They are right because there is no option since Newtwork Rail and the companies start closing the lines from early evening on Christmas Eve.

As usual, there are no train services running on Christmas Day and only a few services running on Boxing Day such as in Strathclyde, Merseyrail, on Eurostar, on Southeastern between St Pancras and Ashford in Kent and from London Marylebone to Oxford Parkway.

This year there is a lot to put up with so for the few that have managed to avoid the news about what will and won’t work, here is a summary. The south east of England cops most of the disruption.

There will be no Southeastern services at London Cannon Street, London Charing Cross, London Waterloo East or London Bridge stations from 27th December until the 4th of January. Trains will be diverted to either London Victoria or London Blackfriars.

trains affected to Bournemouth

trains affected to Bournemouth

Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express services will be disrupted over the holiday period between London and the south coast as well as Gatwick Airport from 22.00 on Christmas Eve until 04.00 on Monday 4 January 2016. During this period there will be no trains between South Croydon and Redhill. The Gatwick Express service will be suspended, but travel by train from London Victoria to Gatwick will be possible via Horsham but this option will take about 90 minutes, three times longer than usual. You can use the East Grinstead line where a replacement bus services will operate but guess what? That service will take 90 minutes as well.

If you need to travel on Great Western then on December 27th and 28th you will be diverted into other London mainline stations rather than Paddington because of work on CrossRail so journeys will take longer but you will see parts of Oxfordshire or Berkshire that you might not have seen before. There will also be no Heathrow Express. On the same days there will be no trains from Slough to Paddington. Up until the 4th of January expect unusual routes for your trains into London due to engineering at Didcot as well.

There will be no trains between London Liverpool Street and Ingatestone/Southend Victoria/Southminster on the 27th and 28th.

On South West lines the line between New Milton and Bournemouth will be closed from the 27th until the end of New Years’ Day so buses will replace services. This will also affect Cross Country.

and trains diverted between Crew and Stafford

and trains diverted between Crew and Stafford

East Midlands Trains is the only company to have no service running for the whole period from Sunday 27 December to Sunday 10 January on the Barnetby and Cleethorpes section with buses linking Market Rasen to Cleethorpes. First TransPennine and Northern Rail will also be affected to some degree in Lincolnshire.

The lines between Stafford and Crewe will be closed on the 27th and 28th so you’ll be diverted through the Staffordshire countryside.

Scots get the best transport news because the Forth bridge re-opened today a fortnight earlier than had been planned. The trains have taken the strain up until now; normal service will be resumed!

Media commentators have said that the big question is whether everything will be up and running for the first day back of full time working on the 4th of January. As far as I am concerned the big question is why it is that tourists, visitors and holidaymakers are always the ones to suffer for the albeit necessary engineering works.

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