Paddington, the second busiest railway station in the UK, will be closed for four days from Christmas Eve until December 28 for important engineering work to improve reliability of services and facilities.
Paddington’s closure will affect journeys to and from South Wales, Bristol, the West Country and Heathrow Airport and commuters are advised to check before travelling and make alternative arrangements if necessary.
This means that there will be no Elizabeth line service between the station and Ealing Broadway on Christmas Eve. HS2 work is being carried at Old Oak Common and new tracks are being laid down in West Drayton, with long distance trains terminating at Reading whilst Paddington is closed.
What other stations and services are affected?
Kings Cross station will be closed on Christmas Eve for work to be done on the East Coast Main Line and Victoria station will not be running Southeastern services from December 23 to January 2 whilst maintenance and re-signalling work is carried out. Southeastern services will instead be diverted to Blackfriars, Charing Cross and Cannon Street.
The closures and maintenance work being done will cause disruption to some passengers but Network Rail has maintained that 96% of its rail network will be operating with “business as usual” and will be open. Network Rail is carrying out £127m worth of repairs and improvements during the closures.
For passengers needing to get to and from Heathrow Airport, the Picadilly Line will still be running its service to Heathrow, although there will be no Heathrow Express services between December 24-27 inclusive. The Elizabeth Line will be running between Ealing Broadway and Heathrow Airport on December 24 and 27. Concerning rail services on Boxing Day, the Thameslink, Gatwick Express and other Southern services will not be running.
With regard to tube disruptions, there will be closures on the District line, London Overground, Elizabeth line and DLR, and there will be no services on the Waterloo & City line. On Christmas Day there will be no services as usual and on Boxing Day there will be reduced services on the Bakerloo line, District line, London Overground and DLR, with no Elizabeth and Waterloo & City lines services.
What does Network Rail have to say?
Lawrence Bowman, network strategy director for Network Rail, said: “We understand how important this time of year is for our passengers for reconnecting with family and friends. With more than 96 per cent of the network open for business as usual, we have tried as far as possible to design our investment projects around our passengers and keep disruption to a minimum.
“We plan our Christmas engineering programmes months- and in some cases years- in advance and target the quietest times – overnight, weekends and Christmas Day and Boxing Day to ensure we keep what disruption there is to an absolute minimum and will always looks to use diversions rather than put people on buses.”
TfL has released information and guidance on travelling during the Christmas and New Year period which you can find here.