Last chance for rail passengers to plan journeys ahead of £160m Christmas investment work

  • Network Rail will be working to deliver more than 260 projects across Britain over Christmas
  • The £160m investment is crucial to providing more frequent, faster services and help relieve over-crowding
  • Service restrictions will be in place from Saturday 23rd December to 1st January

Rail passengers preparing for their Christmas getaway this week are being issued a final reminder to plan their journeys.

In just five days’ time, Network Rail will start its multi-million pound Christmas investment programme that, once completed, will make way for thousands of better, more frequent and faster services in the months ahead.

In some parts of the country, work will begin on Saturday 23 December this year to give engineers four clear days to make uninterrupted progress on vital projects, so passengers should check their journeys for this coming weekend in advance.

While for many, Christmas and New Year will be spent celebrating with friends and family, a 32,000 strong workforce will be out in all weathers across the country, helping to build a bigger and better railway.

Overall, there will be less disruption for rail users this Christmas as the majority of work has been scheduled for when no trains are planned to run, such as on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The majority of the rail network remains open for business however, with approximately 95 per cent unaffected by the investment programme.

Click on the calendar above to see a larger version

A significant milestone this holiday season will be the opening of the street-level concourse and newly rebuilt platforms at London Bridge, which passengers will see when they return to work in the New Year.

Our Railway Upgrade Plan is the biggest in a hundred years. A number of massively complex and hugely challenging projects are on the home straight. These will bring faster journeys, more comfort and greater reliability to millions of people who rely on the railway.


Christmas is the quietest period for train travel. Our team, therefore, will be out in force throughout the festive period improving the railway.


While we are keeping 95 per cent of the network open, some routes will be affected by our upgrade works. Please make your travel plans before setting off.

Mark Carne, chief executive at Network Rail

Main service impacts:

*As usual, no trains will run on Christmas Day and a limited service will run on Boxing Day*

Crossrail East

A number of major upgrades are being carried out by Network Rail on this section of the Great Eastern mainline to Norwich out of London Liverpool Street, including vital work in preparation for the arrival of the new Elizabeth line (Crossrail) services.

The Crossrail project will provide new trains, better stations and quicker, easier, more reliable journeys for passengers in east London and Essex. The London end of the Great Eastern main line will be closed from 23 December to 1 January inclusive, impacting services to Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich.

Spotlight on Christmas 2017: Crossrail Project

Crossrail West

A number of major upgrades are being carried out by Network Rail on the lines out of London Paddington in preparation for the arrival of the new Elizabeth line services. London Paddington will be closed from 24 December to 27 December inclusive with an amended service in place from 28 December to 1 January inclusive.

Thameslink Programme

London Bridge (Southeastern platforms), Charing Cross, Cannon Street and Waterloo East will be closed and services will not run between Blackfriars and St Pancras International from 23 December to 1 January for the final major phase of Thameslink Programme. Following this Christmas work, the transformation of London Bridge station will be completed as the final platforms (1-5) and sections of concourse are opened for the first time.

Spotlight on Christmas 2017: Thameslink Programme

Redhill junction renewal

Two of the four lines from London Victoria to Brighton will be closed from 24 December to 1 January inclusive. Victoria station will be closed on both 25 and 26 December.

Larger pieces of work are planned for bank holidays as they are generally quieter periods with up to 50 per cent fewer passengers travelling by rail, minimising the impact of any disruption as much as possible.

Passengers are advised to check for a full list of service alterations or follow #ChristmasBHWorks on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.