UK rail travel faces Christmas disruption as 300 engineering projects carried out | Rail transport

Rail passengers face disruption over Christmas as Network Rail carries out 300 engineering projects.

The government-owned infrastructure management company said more than 95% of the network would be open but urged travellers to “plan their journeys in advance”.

London Liverpool Street will be closed between Christmas Day and 2 January for work including bridge reconstruction and track maintenance. This will affect Greater Anglia, Stansted Express and c2c services.

There will be no Southern or Gatwick Express services to or from London Victoria over the same period. This will allow signalling and track work to take place at Clapham Junction and Balham. Most trains will be diverted to London Bridge.

Avanti West Coast trains running between London Euston and Glasgow Central will run to a reduced timetable between Christmas Eve and 30 December. This is because of a combination of track renewals at Harlesden, north-west London; platform work at Milton Keynes Central; and bridge work at Camden, north London, and Wolverton, Milton Keynes.

Signal and track renewals in Lewisham, south-east London mean Cannon Street station will be closed on Christmas Eve.

There will be a reduced service for short-distance trains from London Waterloo between 27 December and New Year’s Day because of bridge strengthening work in Battersea, south London.

The projects will cost a total of £120m.

The Network Rail chief executive, Andrew Haines, said: “Christmas is an important time for the railway as it gives us the opportunity to get a lot of work done to improve the railway when trains aren’t running, and therefore keep disruption for our passengers at a minimum.

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“We’ve worked closely with our train operators to ensure the vast majority of the network is open for business over the festive period so people can travel by rail to spend time with their families and friends. However, some of these key upgrade projects will have an impact on services, so we’re asking passengers to plan their journeys before travelling.

“And a huge thank you to the thousands of rail workers who will be working over this period to keep services running and delivering upgrades to improve our railway, therefore bringing more reliable journeys to passengers in the future.”

Festive travellers could face further disruption from strike action. Last week, the Rail, Maritime and Transport union said a fresh ballot of its members showed overwhelming support to carry on with industrial action in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

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