• £111m to be invested to improve the network over the Christmas and New Year period
  • Vast majority of railway remains open for ‘business as usual’
  • A small number of lines see major change where passengers should check before they travel

Rail passengers preparing to make their Christmas getaways are being reminded to check their journeys before travelling.

While the vast majority of the network will be unaffected by upgrade work, some lines will see major change as Network Rail begins its Christmas investment programme to deliver more reliable infrastructure and improved facilities and services for passengers.

Network Rail is working together with train operators to minimise disruption by carrying out work on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, when traditionally the railway is closed.

Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “Our passengers expect and deserve a more reliable railway. That’s why this Christmas we are working on the railway across the country to improve services for our passengers.

“While significantly fewer people travel over Christmas, we know that some of our passengers will have important plans to visit friends and family, so please do check before you travel.”

20,560 railway staff will deliver 386 projects over the Christmas and New Year period. The major works include:

  • Multiple major upgrade works at London King’s Cross, including tunnel and structure work, drainage inspection and upgrading overhead line equipment, resulting in improved capacity, reliability and operational flexibility. The majority of these works will take place over Christmas Day and Boxing Day. On Friday 27 December, train operators will have limited access into King’s Cross at the start of service until 13:00, and they will be running a reduced timetable.
  • Track renewals, switches and crossings and overhead line works between London Paddington and Slough. This will mean no trains from London Paddington between 24-27 December, and a reduced timetable between 28-31 December. Strike action on SWR will also mean that services in and out of Paddington will be busier than normal, with passengers likely to use GWR as an alternative.
  • Switches and crossings renewal works at Ashford International to improve track quality and reduce delays caused by track faults. This means Southeastern Highspeed and Eurostar services will not stop at Ashford between 26-29 December. Mainline services will run but some will be subject to change.
  • Re-railing and track maintenance work between London Liverpool Street and Hackney Downs to improve service reliability. On 26 December Stansted Airport services will start and terminate at Tottenham Hale. Greater Anglia and Arriva Rail London services will run between 27-29 December but will divert around the works on the fast lines.

A breakdown of how journeys will be affected can be found by visiting National Rail Enquiries, and following #XmasRailWorks on Twitter.