Prepare for railway chaos over Christmas and New Year: Festive services face widespread disruption - including routes to Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester airports

Disruption set to last from Christmas Day to the end of New Year's  Day

Rail users will face a hugely disrupted service over Christmas and the New Year, with "essential engineering works" forcing widespread line closures, reduced services and rail replacement buses on dozens of routes.

Among the services affected are the Gatwick Express, and mainline routes to Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport, with the disruption set to last from Christmas Day to the end of New Year's  Day.

The cancellations on the Gatwick Express, which runs from London's Victoria station to Gatwick Airport in West Sussex, are due to a major tranche of engineering work being carried out at Gatwick station, at Victoria and between Redhill and Purley in Surrey.

This extensive work will also affect services operated by the First Capital Connect (FCC), First Great Western (FGW) and Southern train companies. Certain trains will not run over the festive period, with bus replacement services operating on some routes.

Engineering work is taking place between Paddington station in London and Slough in Berkshire from December 27 to January 3. This will mean disruption to some FGW services, while some Heathrow Express services will be affected from December 30 to January 1.

FGW passengers will also have to put up with engineering work between Oxford and Hanborough from December 27 to 29, while FGW services and those run by the CrossCountry are being disrupted by engineering work between Reading and Basingstoke from December 27 to 30.

FGW passengers will have to use buses instead of trains between Maidenhead and Marlow from December 27 to 29 due to engineering work, while FGW services will also be disrupted from December 29 to January 3 by engineering work between Reading and Didcot Parkway.

A major £19 million upgrade at Gravesend station in Kent will mean the Southeastern company will not be able to run any trains from or through Gravesend between December 22 and January 5. Buses will replace the Gravesend trains

The Gravesend work will also affect Southeastern's high-speed services.

Engineering work between Retford and Lincoln and between Gainsborough Lea Road and Lincoln will mean buses replace trains between Doncaster/Retford and Lincoln from December 21 to January 5.

From December 23 to 27 there will be engineering work between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport stations with lines closed at various times. Buses will replace trains on some routes during this time. There is also engineering work in the Manchester Victoria area which will affect Northern Rail services between December 27 and January 1.

Engineering work from December 28 to 30 will mean East Midlands Trains passengers will have to take buses instead of trains between Spalding and Sleaford in Lincolnshire.

Buses will replace trains on parts of London Overground between December 23 and 27 due to engineering work between Surrey Quays and New Cross Gate/New Cross.

Platforms 1-9 will be closed at Waterloo station in London from December 27 to 29, with disruptions to services by South West Trains.

On the Victoria, Gatwick and Surrey disruptions, Network Rail Sussex route managing director Tim Robinson said: "These are three significant infrastructure upgrades which have been carefully planned to take place at the same time to keep disruption to a minimum."

One good bit of news for travellers is that the Chiltern train company will for the first time be running some services on Boxing Day. Its trains will operate for around 12 hours, with the first train northbound from London to Bicester North at 8.15am and the last to Princes Risborough at 6.45pm.

Southbound, the first train will run from High Wycombe to Marylebone station in London at 8.29am and the last will run from Bicester North to Marylebone at 6.57pm.

On the Tube there is track replacement work at Earl's Court in west London over the festive period. There will be part closures on the District and Jubilee lines between December 27 and 30, while a section of the Northern line will be shut on December 28 and 29.

Michael Roberts, director general of rail industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said: "We are living through one of the biggest investment programmes in the history of the railway.

"Passengers and businesses are benefiting from multimillion-pound projects such as King's Cross and Birmingham New Street as well as thousands of vital smaller schemes to improve tracks, signals and stations."

He went on: "Building a better network is something we do every day. But Christmas and other major holidays are when the railway is less busy than on a typical weekday. So we use these periods to carry out particularly important improvements.

"A great deal of care goes into minimising the impact of this vital work and to keep people on trains wherever possible. By planning ahead, the vast majority of passengers travelling by rail over the festive period can expect to travel without disruption."

Additional reporting PA

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine