Don’t get left out in the cold this Christmas, plan ahead

Monday 04th December 2017

When should I travel by train this Christmas?

Great Western Railway (GWR) is advising customers to plan their journeys in advance this Christmas and to travel as early as possible, with Network Rail continuing its work to modernise the Great Western mainline.

On Sunday 24 December and Wednesday 27 December trains will not be able to operate to or from London Paddington. While some services will be diverted to London Marylebone these will be limited and in high demand; and the majority of services will terminate at Reading or Slough.

GWR Electrostar train

GWR Operations Manager Rob Mullen said:

“We advise customers to plan their journey in advance at and travel on or before 23 December if possible.

“While we recognise the disruption this work will cause, and thank passengers in advance for their understanding, it is vital to enable us to run more electric trains delivering more seats and more frequent services.”

Local trains in the Thames Valley will operate between Reading and Slough, where replacement bus services will take customers onwards; however, these journeys will be significantly longer and buses are expected to be busy.

Chris Fuoco, Senior Incident Officer at Network Rail, said:

"We are urging passengers to check before you travel over this Christmas period as Network Rail undertakes a £40m investment on the Great Western Main Line and Crossrail as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. 

“This package of work is vital in order to accommodate GWR’s new fleet of trains and to enable Crossrail services to begin at the end of next year. 

 “I’d like to thank passengers in advance for their patience over this period.”

When should I travel?

Thursday 21 and Friday 22 December:

A normal service will operate.

Saturday 23 December:

Some platforms at London Paddington will not be available for GWR to use which will affect the arrival and departure times of a small number of trains.

Sunday 24 and Wednesday 27 December:

The railway between London Paddington and Slough will be closed.

Christmas Day and Boxing Day:

No service.

Thursday 28 to Sunday 31 December:

A reduced weekend service will be in operation to and from London Paddington.

Monday 1 January:

A normal Bank Holiday service will operate.

The Network Rail upgrade work will also affect Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect services with no trains between Heathrow and London Paddington from 24 to 27 December.

From 28 December to 1 January Heathrow Express services will depart every 30 minutes and Heathrow Connect services every hour except for Sunday 31 December when services will operate as normal.

For those travelling to Gatwick Airport between Saturday 23 December and Monday 1 January trains will only run between Reading and Reigate while Network Rail builds a new platform at Redhill. Buses will connect from Reigate to Redhill and Gatwick Airport.

Elsewhere on the GWR network, work near Southampton between 24 December and 1 January will lead GWR to divert its services on this line via Eastleigh. Trains will still be able to access Southampton Central from the Salisbury direction.

Passengers can visit for further information.

The New Year will see important timetable changes take place, with GWR’s new Electrostar trains extended to operate between London Paddington and Didcot Parkway.

In addition, more Intercity Express Trains will be introduced, including new routes to Oxford, Great Malvern, Worcester Foregate Street and Newbury, providing customers on these routes more space and greater comfort.

For more information on GWR’s new trains please click here.

Notes to editors

Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.

We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR is a FirstGroup company.