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Lots & Lots of London Transport Closings & Downtime Over the Holidays

Evening Standard outlines holiday closings and downtimes on the London rail network . Paddington, Charing Cross, etc., stations will be closed for up to 10 days.

Posted by
5386 posts

Paddington has a sort of phased re-opening, after the regular Christmas Day and Boxing Day shut down:

27 Dec: Still closed, limited replacements to/from Marylebone.
28-31 Dec: Half normal lines available into Paddington, so approximately half of trains run to special timetable.
1 Jan: normal bank holiday service
2 Jan: New timetable, introducing electric local trains to Didcot

IMPORTANT: if you bought a ticket before 16 November check train is still running as the revised schedules weren't posted then.

Posted by
985 posts

A most appropriate error, Marco. Don't you think it should be called that on a regular basis?

I haven't kept up on Uber in London. Will tourists have that to use as an alternate? Still looks as if much of the tube network will be up and running most of the time.

Posted by
5386 posts

The Uber appeal is I believe not going to be heard until at least the spring, so they carry on in the meantime. Indeed the whole process could actually take years if it went its way through the various court stages rather than being settled.

Plenty of other private hire and taxis too, although they are likely to be thin on the ground on Xmas Day and New Year's Eve ...

Posted by
4684 posts

Most of this affects longer distance services. If you're staying in London, the only thing that might affect tourists is the closure of the Southeastern route to Greenwich.

Posted by
33339 posts

Or anybody wanting to get to Oxford or Bath, or anybody wanting to use either the Heathrow Connect or Heathrow Express.

Posted by
970 posts

These closures, etc., will get no media exposure here in the States. I think most travelers would not be surprised by Christmas Day closings, even if they aren't aware until it happens, but the extended downtimes will, I'm sure, surprise many.

Posted by
8889 posts

J.C., these closures are nothing unexpected. As many people take the week between Christmas and the New Year off as holiday, most commuter services have (relatively) low loading, so it is the least painful time to do major disruptive work. The same logic applies to disruptive road works. The summer holiday period is the second favourite time.
The only question is "which line(s) are they going to dig up this year?"

P.S. I'm heading into Paddington on 2nd Jan, so the work had better be finished on time. Previous years there have been some disastrous time overruns at other stations.

Posted by
33339 posts

As long as they know you are coming, Chris F, I am sure they will have it all finished ... and the red carpet out.....

Posted by
5386 posts

The Paddington work is Crossrail related, as it has been every Christmas for a few years. At least there is a prospect of their only being one more.

Posted by
970 posts

The closings will be expected, Chris F., if you live in the UK or travel there often enough during the holidays. First-time and inexperienced travelers, especially from the U.S., will surely be surprised at the extent of the holiday closings. Comparable downtimes in NYC, DC or Boston, etc., transport networks would fuel the next mayoral elections.

Posted by
8889 posts

J.C., I didn't mean to criticise, only to point out this is a regular (annual) occurrence.
Travelling by train on Sunday in the UK also carries a standard warning to check the train times a few days before, as Sunday is a favourite for maintenance work.
The big closures in London in recent years have all been to do with expansions (Thameslink) and new lines (Crossrail at Paddington), not lack of maintenance. Replacing all the track at the entrance to a major station is not something you can do with the trains running.

This is what they did at London Bridge station Easter 2017 (Timelapse video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATTSmLlDma0
Not something you can do with the trains running!

Posted by
1072 posts

" First-time and inexperienced travelers, especially from the U.S., will surely be surprised at the extent of the holiday closings. Comparable downtimes in NYC, DC or Boston, etc., transport networks would fuel the next mayoral elections."

Which reinforces the first rule of traveling abroad, "don't expect everything to be the same as back at home", sadly a lot of American tourist seem to think that the only thing they will find that is different in the UK is that we drive on the other side of the road and it rains a lot.