One of the four busiest rail stations in Britain will be closed completely over Christmas and the New Year as part of widespread engineering work over the festive period.
Passengers already face four more days of national rail strikes planned on 13, 14, 16 and 17 December, in addition to widespread local industrial action.
Travellers will find rail journeys again disrupted in late December and early January as Network Rail closes lines and stations.
The usual expresses connecting London with Gatwick and Stansted airports will not run, though alternative train links will be available.
Network Rail says: “Work will take place from Friday 23 December 2022 to Tuesday 3 January 2023.
“The vital improvements and routine maintenance around Britain will give you a better and more reliable railway for the long term.”
As usual, trains will end earlier than usual on Christmas Eve, with no passenger trains anywhere in the UK on 25 December. Very few trains will run on Boxing Day.
The last engineering works will end as the next round of national rail strikes begin. The first RMT national walk-out of 2023 is scheduled for 3, 4, 6 and 7January.
These are the key locations for planned engineering disruption.
London Liverpool Street
The Greater Anglia terminus will be closed to passengers from 25 December to 2 January inclusive, due to “bridge reconstruction, switches and crossing refurbishment and track maintenance”.
During the nine days of closure, Stansted Express trains and services to and from Cambridge will start and end at Tottenham Hale in North London.
Trains serving Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich will start and end at Ingatestone, a village between Brentwood and Chelmsford. A bus link will run between Ingatestone and Newbury Park, a station on the “Hainault Loop” of the London Underground Central line.
Passengers will travel to and from central London on the Tube.
To and from Southend, a similar arrangement will apply via Billericay.
Many other passengers to and from London face problems.
The western half of the terminus, serving south London, Surrey and Sussex, will be shut from Christmas Day to Monday 2 January inclusive, with no Southern or Gatwick Express. The closure is due to resignalling and track work between Clapham Junction and Balham.
Most Southern trains will be diverted to run to and from London Bridge instead. Gatwick will continue to be served by Thameslink trains from several stations including St Pancras, Blackfriars and London Bridge.
Replacement buses will run between Clapham Junction and East Croydon.
On 27 December, engineering work west of the UK’s busiest rail station will close all lines between Clapham Junction and Wimbledon.
Track renewal work at one of northern England’s busiest stations from 25 to 31 December will cause significant reductions to services as well as longer journey times.
On the East Coast main line, LNER will run hourly between London King’s Cross, Newcastle and Edinburgh via an alternative route, with slightly longer journey times.
Buses will replace trains between York and Darlington, and between York and Scarborough. The TransPennine Express links with Manchester will be reduced.
London Euston-Milton Keynes Central-Rugby
The key stretch of the West Coast main line linking the West Midlands, northwest England and southern Scotland with the capital faces widespread disruption.
From 24 to 29 December services at London Euston will run to a reduced timetable due to work in the capital.
Between Tuesday 27 and Thursday 29 December inclusive, and on New Year’s Day, the West Coast main line will be closed completely between Milton Keynes Central and Rugby. Buses will replace trains on the route.
On Christmas Eve and 27 December, trains that normally use this link will be diverted or cancelled. Some Birmingham New Street-London services will start and end at Birmingham International (the airport station).