Engineering work scheduled for the Christmas holidays will see express trains to London’s Gatwick and Heathrow airports cancelled for the duration. The final Gatwick Express service will depart from Victoria Station at 21:15 on Christmas Eve. The service will then resume again on 4 January 2016.
A Gatwick spokesperson told reporters that due to the train cancellations departing passengers would need to allow extra time if they were travelling to the airport by rail. Trains will be running, but not direct ones and passengers will be required to board buses for the first days of the shutdown.
The spokesperson explained that the engineering work was needed to increase passenger capacity on the route. Express and Connect trains to Heathrow do not usually operate on Christmas Day. This year, the shutdown is being extended to three days to allow work on the London Crossrail route to go ahead.
A statement issued by Great Western Railway noted Paddington Station to Heathrow train services were being suspended for the three days. It added that the work was an essential item on the agenda to get the Crossrail route ready for its 2019 launch.
Heathrow also says passengers need to ensure they leave plenty of time to get here. The representative said Piccadilly Tube services would be operating and bus operators planned to lay on extra services during the closure.
Campaign for Better Transport CEO Stephen Joseph stated that the line closures were bound to make travelling to airports a nightmare. He also commented that somebody seemed to have made a decision to sacrifice convenience for holidaymakers for the benefit of commuters.