Passengers are reminded that while much of the UK rail network is open during Christmas, some works are happening and as South Western Railway continues to run an amended strike timetable, they should check before they travel.

Across Network Rail’s Wessex route – which includes South West London, Surrey, Berkshire, Hants, Dorset and Somerset – there are a number of projects happening, and the work will particularly impact passengers who use Guildford station.

Some 20,560 railway staff will deliver 386 projects over the festive period. The major projects in our route include:

  • Between Friday 27 and Monday 30 December, engineers will be improving track drainage and strengthening Farnham Road overbridge by repairing its brick and steelwork. Between Wednesday 25 and Monday 30 December, Farnham Road overbridge will only be open to pedestrians whilst cleaning, painting, repairs and strengthening works are carried out. As the strike will still be in place, there will be a limited number of South Western Railway (SWR) services to Guildford via Cobham and Stoke D’Abernon. Buses will replace trains between both Woking and Haslemere and Guildford and Farnham, with passengers travelling to Portsmouth can connect at Haslemere for a train. CrossCountry trains from Newcastle will only go as far as Reading. Great Western Railway (GWR) services between Reading and Gatwick Airport will run between Reading and Ash only, with buses replacing services between North Camp and Guildford/Gatwick Airport.
  • We will be strengthening the bridge at Fisherton Street in Salisbury between 24-28 December affecting passengers travelling from London Waterloo to Exeter via Salisbury. Due to the bridge being close to the station, trains will not serve Salisbury on 27 December.
  • On 29 December, there is some preparatory works for some forthcoming works between Clapham Junction and Wimbledon. Passengers travelling from Waterloo to Weymouth, Exeter and Southampton, your services will start from 11.00am onwards. Passengers travelling to Waterloo from Weymouth and Yeovil, your service will begin much later than the usual Sunday strike timetable.
  • There will also be some work at Wimbledon signalling centre that runs the power to the signals and other systems within a 20 miles radius of Waterloo. The work takes place between 24 December – 26 December so will not affect passengers services as no trains will be running.

Mark Killick, route director for Wessex said: “Our passengers want and deserve a more reliable railway, so that’s why thousands of workers will be working during the festive period to help make this happen.

 “Significantly fewer people travel over Christmas, which is why we do work at this time of year. But we know some of our passengers will have important plans, so please check with your train operator or through the national rail enquiries website before you travel.”

A South Western Railway (SWR) spokesperson said: “We encourage customers to check before they travel over the Christmas period as there is an amended timetable in place for the duration of the RMT strike action.

“Last services will depart from Waterloo earlier than usual and the station will close by early evening on Christmas Eve. We would also like to thank customers for their patience as Network Rail carries out these essential engineering works.”

SWR will upload detailed timetables to their website as soon as they become available and they recommend customers check before they travel, using southwesternrailway.com/strike and @SW_Help for all of the latest information, including alternative travel arrangements.