Thursday, 7 Dec 2023

Passengers face huge disruption as key routes are cut by ‘worst-ever’ track work

Many expected 15 million travellers will be hit by disruption, with some journey times trebling. A horror list of projects – to be unveiled in days by Network Rail – reveals key routes severed and major stations shut.

Dozens of works will occur between December 23 and January 1, with Christmas shoppers also hitting on December 16-17. Entire cities will be without a major rail link and works will delay five of the seven mainline routes – London to the West, North-East, North-West, South-West, and East.

Bruce Williamson, a spokesman for passenger group Railfuture, said: “It looks like one of the biggest Christmas works schedules ever, which will massively inconvenience passengers.” London Paddington station will shut on Christmas Eve and December 27, both peak travel days, severing the artery between London and the West Country.

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There will also be no Southeastern trains to Kent from London Victoria on December 16-17, and from December 23 to January 1.

The East Coast mainline will also be hit on Christmas Eve and the West Coast line part-shut on January 1. Southampton will be cut off, with no trains from December 24 to 29, while the Norwich-London mainline is severed from December 27 to January 1.

Buses will operate to Manchester, Leeds and Doncaster instead of Northern trains over New Year, and some services will be axed between Birmingham, Worcester and Shrewsbury from December 27-29.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “The vast majority of passengers will be unaffected. Some bigger jobs will have an impact, so we would ask passengers to plan ahead.” 

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