Christmas travel will be affected by the "biggest ever" planned holiday works this year, causing chaotic journeys for many festive journeys. With Paddington, Liverpool Street, Charing Cross, Waterloo and Cannon Street all affected. Those travelling in the South East and West will be worst hit.
The Rail Delivery Group, the representative organisation for Britain's rail companies, said that journeys would be "severely affected." Meanwhile Network Rail, the body charged with responsibility for the UK's railway network, said the works schedule was one of the "biggest ever" to take place over the Christmas period.
Though the works have not yet been formally announced, the Mirror.co.uk reported that there were to be no trains serving the West of England from Paddington station between December 24 and 29. Liverpool Street station will see works between December 24 and January 2, with no journeys taking place on the East Anglian main line over that period. No trains will serve Stanstead Airport on January 1 or 2.
The Rail Delivery Group confirmed: "Major improvement work this Christmas will severely affect journeys to and from London Paddington, London Liverpool Street, London Charing Cross, London Cannon Street, Manchester and Cardiff."
Though Network Rail said that undertaking vital works during the festive period caused minimal disruption, because less commuters were affected, it conceded disruption was possible. It advised passengers to check before they travelled on the rail network over the festive season.
Meanwhile ongoing issues affecting Southern Rail looked likely to cause more problems in the run-up to Christmas. The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) confirmed it would ballot members in the coming weeks over strike action in response to its controversial plans for driver-only trains.
RMT also said it would ballot London Underground staff for strike action in response to cuts to station staff that it said "compromised safety." The statement cited the recent terror alert at North Greenwich station as an example of the "urgency of the current situation."