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Christmas: Passengers face train festive disruption

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Image caption

The Severn Tunnel will shut between Christmas and the new year for electrification work

Passengers heading in and out of Wales around Christmas and new year face huge disruption as the multi-billion pound upgrade of the UK railways continue.

Travellers leaving or arriving in Wales from London, Cheltenham and England’s south coast have been told to travel early and check their journey.

The Severn Tunnel between England and Wales shuts from Christmas to new year.

London stations serving Wales will also close on Sunday, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.

No trains run anywhere on Christmas Day or Boxing Day but nationwide bus companies National Express and Mega Bus do operate.

“Some are saying its the worst Christmas period for train passengers,” said rail campaigner Bruce Williamson.

“But it’s a case of short-term pain for long-term gain as this isn’t just maintenance, the railway network is having a significant upgrade.”

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Geograph / Jaggery

Image caption

Some trains will be terminating at Newport station over the festive period due to engineering work

In north Wales, Virgin trains will not run to or from Holyhead and Wrexham on Christmas Eve, 27 December and 30 December due to work at London’s Euston station.

The Holyhead services will start and terminate at Crewe.

In south Wales, the £2.8bn project to electrify the south Wales mainline between Cardiff and London Paddington – due to be completed in 2019 – will see the Severn Tunnel closed between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

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GWR

Paddington station will also be closed on Sunday, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day as Network Rail carries out a £25m upgrade so services will start and stop at Reading.

There will also be no direct trains between south Wales and Portsmouth over the festive period with two bus replacements needed – between Newport and Bristol and Trowbridge and Warminster.

The Severn Tunnel work will also affect services to Taunton as they will start and stop at Bristol Temple Meads on 27 and 28 December instead of Cardiff.

On the same dates, travel to and from Cheltenham will start and end at Newport, not Cardiff.

Work will also affect Valley Lines services in and out of the Welsh capital over Christmas.

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Media captionThe Severn Tunnel is closed for a week while electrification works are carried out.

“No passenger likes bus replacement services,” added Mr Williamson, of Railfuture passenger group.

“We appreciate the disruption will impact on passengers but the work has got to be done at some time or the rail network will come to a grinding halt.”



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