11th December 2018
Great Western Railway (GWR) are advising passengers to to plan ahead for travel around Christmas and travel early where possible in anticipation of Network Rail delivering their biggest ever program of Christmas engineering work.
Over Christmas and New Year, Network Rail will carry out £25 million of improvements on the Great Western network in order to pave the way for GWR to deliver more seats on quicker and more reliable trains. The upgrades are part of a five-year plan for Network Rail, a multi-billion pound investment in the network that will improve passenger journeys in the years ahead.
GWR Operations Manager Rob Mullen said:
“We advise customers to plan their journey in advance at GWR.com, and with the work at London Paddington and London Waterloo, to travel on or before 22 December if possible. While we recognise the disruption this work will cause, and thank passengers in advance for their understanding, it is vital to enable us to run more of our brand new Intercity Express Trains. These new trains are already delivering more seats, and will after timetable improvements agreed by Network Rail, deliver more frequent and quicker services on more modern and reliable infrastructure.”
Network Rail’s Western Route Managing Director Mark Langman said:
"Owing to fewer passengers travelling at Christmas, we have an opportunity to carry out extensive improvement work with less disruption. We have dozens of projects which will be completed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day with no impact on train services. These projects will enable us to keep operating a safe, reliable railway for the communities and economies which we support. We know that the railway is up to 50% quieter than usual during Christmas and the New Year so where our planned upgrade work is more complicated to deliver we take the extra days either side of Christmas to minimise the disruption caused. In all cases, we work closely with the train companies to make sure passengers have accurate, timely information to allow them to plan ahead and we thank them for their patience."
GWR journeys will be affected by the following work:
Sunday 23 December to Wednesday 26 and on Sunday 30
- Track renewal work near Southall: Long distance services will start and terminate at Reading, not London Paddington, with stopping commuter services terminating at Slough
Sunday 23 December to Thursday 3 January
- Track renewals near Westbury: Cardiff to Portsmouth services will not travel through Westbury. Instead passengers will need to use rail replacement buses between Trowbridge – Westbury – Warminster
Tuesday 25 December to Tuesday 1 January
- Electrification work through Severn Tunnel Junction: A replacement bus service will operate between Newport and Bristol Parkway
Tuesday 25 to Sunday 30 December
- Bridge strengthening at Guildford: Trains will terminate at Ash, change at North Camp for connecting replacement bus services for Guildford, Redhill and Gatwick Airport
Author: Darren Porter