South Western Railway passengers have been urged to plan ahead this festive period as Network Rail carry out important upgrade work as part of a nationwide investment of more than £148 million.
Network Rail’s ‘team orange’ will be working throughout the festive period to deliver this investment in the railway, helping provide a better, more reliable train service for passengers.
Waterloo station: Work includes the replacement of old switches and crossings, the movable sections of track that guide trains from one track to another, from December 23 until December 28 (inclusive). Around half of normal services will be operating during this time.
Vauxhall station: Work will take place between December 23 and December 27 as part of the £4 million project to strengthen and improve the Upper Kennington Lane bridge. Platforms 5 to 8 at Vauxhall will be shut for this work.
Guildford station: Brick repairs and preparatory work for the refurbishing and strengthening of the railway bridge on Farnham Road will be carried out from December 25 until December 30 (inclusive).
Westbury area: Track renewals at Westbury North Junction and work to improve platforms at Westbury station will take place between December 23 and January 3 inclusive, meaning there will be no South Western Railway services between Salisbury, Westbury and Bristol.
With Victoria and Paddington stations both closed for part of the festive period for their own engineering work, both Waterloo and Clapham Junction stations could be busier than normal at this time of year.
These upgrades are part of Network Rail’s five-year Railway Upgrade Plan – a multi-billion-pound investment in the rail network which will improve passenger journeys in the months and years ahead.
Jason Bridges, chief operating officer for Network Rail’s Wessex route, said: “Our ‘team orange’ engineers will be working around the clock throughout the festive period, delivering vital work to provide a better, more reliable railway for our passengers.
“The network is around 50% less busy over the festive period, so while there’s never a good time to cause disruption, this means fewer people will have their journeys affected.
“We’re working closely with South Western Railway to make sure passengers can get to where they need to be over the festive period, but it’s important to check if your journey is affected before you travel.”
Alan Penlington, customer experience director for South Western Railway, said: “We’re doing all we can to reduce the impact of Network Rail’s vital engineering work on our customers, including putting on rail replacement services wherever possible.
“Unfortunately, the RMT union has also announced further strike dates (Saturday 22, Thursday 27 and Monday 31 December) despite our guarantee to continue to roster a guard on every train.
“We’re sorry for the inconvenience this will cause – we recommend you look online for further journey information and check other train companies’ publicity too as engineering works elsewhere may also affect your journey.”