Christmas travel chaos on railways

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Virgin train at Lime Street station © kpmarek/Flickr

Rail travellers are facing misery as Network Rail will start a major engineering project on the West Coast Main Line just two days before Christmas.

This means there will be no direct trains between London and Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool or Glasgow before December 27th as the line will close completely from December 23rd, and will then open up with limited direct services as the engineering work continues out the year. Full services will start up again in January.

Journey times for many trips will double as direct routes will become multi-change nightmares and certain routes will have bus replacement services to cope with demand.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “Network Rail may be carrying out essential engineering work that requires the timetable to be amended and in some cases buses may replace trains over part of the affected route.

“With many businesses closed for the holidays, passenger numbers for the train operating companies that operate on commuter routes may be reduced. This may mean that the train operator will reduce the number of trains they run.”

The line is at its busiest at this time of the year, with over 100 000 people travelling on December 24th.

The spokesman added: “We understand the impact this work will have on passengers and have worked hard to keep the most disruptive parts of this £125 million project to an absolute minimum.”


About Eivind Haugstad-Kleiven, JMU Journalism