Rail passengers advised to plan ahead for Easter
A month before the four-day Easter weekend, passengers are reminded to plan ahead and check before they travel as Network Rail carries out essential railway upgrades across the South-East.
Netword Rail says that across Sussex, south London, Kent and parts of Surrey, an army of engineers will be working day and night to deliver improvements and carry out necessary maintenance to increase capacity, reduce delays and improve reliability on Britain’s busiest stretch of railway.
Between Good Friday April 14 and Easter Monday April 17, major engineering work will be taking place between New Cross and Charing Cross/Cannon Street on behalf of the Thameslink Programme.
This will mean significant journey changes for Southeastern passengers, with no Southeastern services to or from Charing Cross, Waterloo East and London Bridge – with the exception of Hastings trains – on Friday 14 and Saturday 15 April.
There will also be no Southeastern trains to or from Cannon Street, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill and Westcombe Park stations from Friday until Monday inclusive; trains will be diverted to Victoria or Blackfriars. This will coincide with the Greenwich Tall Ships event, so passengers will need to look at alternative routes if they wish to attend.
On Sunday 16 April there will be no Southern trains to or from London Victoria station, while Network Rail carries out maintenance on platforms 14 and 19. Rail replacement services will run between Victoria and Streatham Hill/East Croydon, with the majority of Southern services diverted to London Bridge.
John Halsall, Network Rail South East route managing director, said: “I would like to thank passengers for their patience while we use this opportunity, when the railway is quieter than usual, to continue our Railway Upgrade Plan and carry out the maintenance necessary to keep this busy stretch of railway safe for the millions of passengers that use it each year. There will be changes to services across the south east and I advise passengers to consider their options in advance and check before they travel this Easter.”
David Statham, managing director of Southeastern Railway, said: “Over the Easter weekend some of our stations will be closed and some routes diverted. Therefore it’s really important to check before you travel, and plan your journey in advance. For full details please pick up a leaflet at a station or visit southeasternrailway.co.uk/easter.”
Angie Doll, Southern’s passenger services director, said: “It’s important that passengers check before they travel on Sunday as there will be no Gatwick Express services, and most Southern services which normally serve Victoria will be diverted to London Bridge. Passengers for Gatwick Airport from London will need to take a Southern service from London Bridge.”
Upgrade work in detail
At London Bridge, Network Rail continues to rebuild the country’s fourth-busiest station and the surrounding railway as part of the Thameslink Programme. Over Easter, Network Rail will be carrying out track and signalling work on all lines between Charing Cross/Cannon Street and New Cross. The team will be making significant changes to signalling, switches and crossings, and realigning the tracks that travel through platforms 1 & 2.
Between London Victoria and East Croydon, there will be no trains as Network Rail carries out heavy track refurbishment on platforms 14 and 19.
In Kent, a major project to improve the railway through Sevenoaks tunnel, just south of the station, will complete over Easter following initial work at Christmas. This two-mile long tunnel is the longest main line tunnel in the south east – and one of the wettest, which can cause problems for train services. Over the Easter weekend, Network Rail engineers will dig up and replace the drainage system through the tunnel, while also repairing brickwork and the lining of some of the 13 ventilation shafts within the tunnel.
Elsewhere on the route, Network Rail will undertake resignalling work between West Croydon and Epsom Downs from Friday 14 to Monday 17 April. Necessary maintenance activities will be underway between Paddock Wood and Stroud from late Saturday night until the early hours of Monday 17 April, and also between Sittingbourne and Herne Bay/Dover and from Barnham to Bognor Regis, which will mean no trains on these routes on Sunday 16 April. Rail replacement services will be in place.
Information about changes to services over this time can be found at National Rail Enquiries www.nationalrail.co.uk/easter. Information about changes to Transport for London services can be found via www.tfl.gov.uk/easter-travel.
August 2017 – major changes to services:
Passengers are also reminded that significant work will take place over the August 2017 bank holiday and the four working days after.
There will be no Southeastern services to or from Charing Cross, Waterloo East and London Bridge from Saturday 26 August to Saturday 2 September. This will mean fewer trains into London. The trains that do run will be diverted to alternative stations and are likely to be extremely busy. Some stations will have queueing systems in place.
Passengers will need to change their journey over these eight days. More information will be available from 10 June; please visit www.ThameslinkProgramme.co.uk/August.
Christmas and New Year:
From 23 December to 2 January, there will be major changes to services as the Thameslink Programme brings all remaining new platforms at London Bridge into use and the final section of the new concourse will open for passengers. This will mean further major changes at Christmas, with no trains at a number of London stations. Passengers on Southeastern, Thameslink and Southern trains will be significantly affected.