If people want to avoid having a blue Christmas, they may want to avoid Network Rail’s West Coast Main Line. With Christmas now just weeks away, Network Rail says that this line is going to experience a lot of delays. It warns passengers that they would be better off taking alternative routes.
Starting from now, until Christmas is over, rail passengers are being advised to stay clear of the main line that runs from London to Scotland. Due to a number of engineering projects that will be taking place on this route, along with increased traffic from the holiday period, this line is being set up for some severe disruptions.
Network Rail says that the work means that the line between Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire and Euston station in London will be shut down after the last train runs on Christmas Eve. This line will remain closed until Dec. 29. However, there could still be delays on this line before it is shut down on Christmas Eve.
This won’t be the only line that is shut down. The line that runs between Crewe and Stafford will see its last train run on Christmas Eve as well, and it won’t run another train until Dec. 28. Network Rail said that these closures are completely necessary because work needs to be done to improve the line between the Watford area and between Stafford and Crewe.
The acting route manager for Network Rail, Jim Syddall, said that there is never a good time for a company to carry out this kind of work. Network Rail has been working closely with its train operators to choose the best time to continue work. The operators feel this period is usually a quieter time for the railway, so it will bring the least amount of disruption. Network Rail apologizes for any kind of inconvenience that this may cause. However, the work is essential and has to be done. This line serves millions of people, and Network Rail has to keep it in proper working order.
This disruption on the West Coast Main Line is going to cause disruptions elsewhere. Although it’s traditionally slower in the days following Christmas, people still use these lines to travel on those days. Thus, this closure is going to cause disruptions at several main London stations, including London Bridge station. To make matters worse, this station has already planned a 16-day partial closure to work on the £6.5 billion Thameslink program.
From Saturday, Dec. 20 to Sunday, Jan. 4, no Southern and Thameslink trains will call at London Bridge. After that, some Thameslink services will provide only limited journeys until 2018. Likewise, from Dec. 22 to Christmas Eve, many Southeastern Charing Cross services won’t call at London Bridge during the morning peak hours. Southeastern passengers may also suffer travel inconveniences until 2016 because of further work.