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Prepare for more rail misery over Christmas

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Dave Fawbert
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'Tis the season to be jolly... annoyed with rail companies for ruining our festive travel plans.

Yes, in an announcement as traditional as mince pies, Cliff Richard and telling everyone that you'll take up running in January, the major rail companies have revealed their plans for major engineering works to take place over the festive period - and this year, it's going to be the largest amount of work ever.

A £150m upgrade plan will see disruption across Great Western, Greater Anglia, Southeastern and the Brighton mainline with station closures, delays ("Hey, what's new?" - everyone) and overcrowding.

And of course, this is all assuming there'll be no snow, or general 'adverse weather' (ie. anything that isn't glorious sunshine).

On the flip side - if you can't be bothered to visit any relatives, you've got a decent excuse. On the other hand, if you want to get rid of them, they might be staying a bit longer than you'd bargained for...

Merry Christmas everyone.

Here are the major changes (for a comprehensive description, click here)

Great Western: Routes via Thames Valley, the south-west, Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect between Slough and Paddington closed on 27 and 28 December, then reduced services until January 3.

West Coast Main Line: Stafford to Crewe closed 27 and 28 December. Fewer services and diversionary route for Virgin Trains. London Midland services replaced by buses.

London to Gatwick and Brighton line: Closures between East Croydon and Redhill from 26 December to 4 January, with replacement buses for Southern and Thameslink services - this will close the line between London and Brighton over the holiday period. No Gatwick Express. For more than a week after Christmas, passengers should for journeys to Gatwick to take an hour longer than usual, using trains between London and East Grinstead, connecting into bus services to Gatwick Airport and Three Bridges.

London Liverpool Street to East Anglia: Line to Ipswich, Norwich, Cambridge and Ely closed between Colchester and Marks Tey on 7-28 December, with replacement buses. Ingatestone, Southend Victoria and Southminster line closed and buses replace trains 28 and 28 December.

Southeastern Services: From late evening on 24 December 2015 (Christmas Eve) through to 3 January 2016, Thameslink Programme improvement work affecting London Bridge means no Southeastern trains will be stopping at London Charing Cross, London Waterloo East, London Cannon Street and London Bridge. There will be a revised timetable throughout the holiday period and those trains going into and from London will start/terminate at London Victoria, London Blackfriars or New Cross. This means that trains may be busier than usual. Timetable changes for the improvement work begin at 20:00 on Christmas Eve, so please be aware that last trains from London Charing Cross and London Cannon Street on that day will be earlier than normal.

(Image: Shutterstock)

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Dave Fawbert

ShortList.com staff writer Dave’s primary passions are pop, prose, punning and power ballads (and alliteration). A lower division football enthusiast and long-suffering cricket fan, he is one of only 110 people followed on Twitter by Chas Hodges from Chas ‘n’ Dave. Follow Dave on Twitter like Chas: @davefawbert

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