TRAIN passengers are being warned about changes to rail services which will impact travel during Christmas and the New Year period, with some routes not running. Between Christmas Eve and January 1 2014 inclusive, infrastructure work will be carried out at a major junction between Redhill and Purley, at Gatwick Airport and London Victoria Station by Network Rail. Services operated by Southern, First Capital Connect and First Great Western on the main Brighton line and branch line will all be affected. Gatwick Express services will not operate from December 25 to January 1. On Boxing Day, passengers will be advised to use a Southern run service from London Bridge to East Grinstead where buses will continue to Gatwick Airport. From December 27 to January 1 Southern will operate services between London Victoria and Gatwick. First Capital Connect won't run trains between East Croydon and Gatwick Airport during this period but tickets will be valid on Southern services. These services have been amended to allow three upgrade projects to take place. The Stoats Nest junction between Redhill and Purley will be replaced to remove the need for speed restrictions and aim to increase reliability of the infrastructure. A new platform, and associated track and signalling work, will be created at Gatwick Airport. This extra platform will be in operation from February 2014. Signalling work will also be carried out between London Victoria and Battersea. Tim Robinson, Network Rail's route managing director for the Sussex route, said: "These are three significant infrastructure upgrades which have been carefully planned to take place at the same time to keep disruption to a minimum. The result will be a more reliable network and more flexibility for trains calling at Gatwick, which continues to attract more passengers travelling there by train. "All three upgrades are part of our commitment to invest in and improve the Brighton main line to provide a safe, reliable and efficient railway which meets the increasing demands of today's passengers." A spokesman for First Great Western said: "While we will continue to operate services between Reading and Redhill, unfortunately we will not be able to run direct services to Gatwick airport. An hourly bus replacement service will be available from Reigate Station, adding an extra 20 minutes to journey times. We recommend that passengers travelling to the airport change at Reigate and check journey times before they travel." Gatwick Airport has been involved in the decision process so plans can be put in place to minimise the impact on airline passengers during the festive period. A Network Rail spokesman said the decision has been made to carry out work at three locations simultaneously to keep disruption to one period of time rather than several different weekends in an effort to affect fewer passengers. Information and reminders will be shared over the coming months in stations, at Gatwick Airport, to keep passengers informed of the work and the changes to services.
More Pages to Explore .....