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Press release -

Major improvement work affecting Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink services over Christmas and New Year

Govia Thameslink Railway has warned its passengers on Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink to expect closures and major service changes between 23 December and New Year’s Day as Network Rail carries out engineering work to help modernise the network.

Stations in the Redhill area will have no train service between 23 December and 1 January inclusive and on Boxing Day there will be no train service to and from Gatwick Airport but only a very limited bus service. Southern and Thameslink’s London Bridge services will also be busier due to major temporary alterations to Southeastern’s timetable.

Nick Brown, Chief Operating Officer for Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “There are significant changes to our train services this festive period, particularly at Redhill and Gatwick Airport. This supports our programme to modernise the network with new infrastructure, new trains, new technology and new, faster, seamless journeys. I would urge passengers to check and plan ahead.”

John Halsall, Network Rail’s South East route managing director, said: “This Christmas and New Year our engineers will be working day and night to improve the railway for passengers across the south east. As part of the Thameslink Programme, we’ll be bringing the remainder of the brand new, modern concourse into use at London Bridge and carrying out major resignalling work on the surrounding railway. Elsewhere, we’ll be finishing the new platform at Redhill so more trains can run in future.

“This will be the final significant stage of work at London Bridge that will affect train services on working days and I would like to thank passengers for their patience as the final countdown begins to an entirely rebuilt, totally accessible station fit for the 21st century. I strongly advise passengers to plan ahead and to check before they travel as we continue our Railway Upgrade Plan.”

The service alterations in more detail:

  • No service in the Redhill area: From Saturday 23 December to Monday 1 January inclusive, there will be no train service at Coulsdon South, Merstham, Redhill, Reigate, Earlswood or at stations between Redhill and Tonbridge. Buses will serve these stations. Services between London, Gatwick and the coast will continue to operate, with the exception of Boxing Day (see below), but to a reduced frequency. Great Western Railway services will not operate between Reigate and Gatwick.
  • No Thameslink cross-London services: From Saturday 23 December to Monday 1 January inclusive, there will be no Thameslink cross London service. Please use the Tube and London buses to complete your journey. Full details of these alterations are available on the Thameslink website
  • London Bridge: From Saturday 23 December to Monday 1 January inclusive, Southern and Thameslink services to and from London Bridge and London Blackfriars will be busier owing to significant alterations to Southeastern services which will not be serving many London stations. There will also be no Southern or Thameslink service to or from London Bridge from start of service until approx. 11:00 on Sunday 23 December.
  • Southampton: From Saturday 23 December to Monday 1 January inclusive, Southern services to/from Southampton Central will be diverted to Portsmouth & Southsea. Customers for stations between Cosham and Southampton should change at Fratton and use Great Western Railway and South Western Railway services to complete their journey. Buses will replace all trains between Woolston and Southampton Central, but rail connections will be available via Eastleigh. Between 09:00 and 19:00 on the working days (Wednesday 27 to Friday 29 December) a limited Southern train service will operate to/from Fareham and Woolston
  • Christmas Eve, 24 December: As normal, services will shut down early from approximately 20:00 on Sunday 24 December. Please check your last trains carefully before you travel.
  • Christmas Day and Boxing Day, 25 and 26 December: No train service on Gatwick Express, Southern or Thameslink. On 26 December, a limited bus service will operate on the following routes:
    1. Between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport (non-stop) every 30 minutes between 05:00 and 23:00
    2. Between London Victoria to East Croydon calling at all stations via Selhurst every 30 minutes between 08:00 and 22:00
    3. Between East Croydon and Sutton calling at all stations via West Croydon every 30 minutes between 08:00 and 22:00
    4. Between East Croydon and Gatwick Airport (non-stop) every 30 minutes between 08:00 and 22:00
    5. Between Gatwick Airport and Brighton calling at Haywards Heath only every 30 minutes between 08:00 and 22:00

    Please allow extra time for your journey and seek alternative routes if possible. Queuing systems will be in place and you may not be able to board the first bus if space is not available.

  • New Year’s Day, 1 January: Services will operate in the early hours of the morning of Monday 1 January on the following Southern and Thameslink routes:
  1. London Bridge and Sutton via Mitcham Junction
  2. London St Pancras International and St Albans
  3. London Bridge and Three Bridges via Gatwick Airport
  4. London Victoria and East Croydon via Selhurst

       For the remainder of the day a Sunday service will operate.

Full details of train and rail replacement bus services will be included in online journey planners including from the beginning of October. Also visit, and for more details.



Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – services between Bedford and Brighton, Luton/St Albans and Sutton, Wimbledon and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria

GTR is the largest rail franchise in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue and staff: GTR carries about 326 million passenger journeys per year, and employs around 6,500 people. Its aim is to improve services across all four networks.

Ticket revenue is passed to the government which pays GTR a fee to operate the franchise which is adjusted according to how well the train service is performing.

Southern has the highest passenger growth in the UK with numbers into London having doubled in 12 years - compared with the industry doubling over the past 20 years. To meet this growth and to future-proof the network, GTR is modernising the rail service for passengers.

GTR has introduced more new trains in the past year than all other franchises put together, with 500 new carriages so far.

The transformative £7bn Thameslink Programme will bring hundreds more daily services from 2018, increasing the number of trains though the central London core from up to 15 to 24 trains per hour. Network Rail has also launched a £300m programme to improve resilience across the GTR network

GTR is modernising how it works, with new technology in use at our stations and on our trains, smartcard ticketing and a new, flexible on-board role on many Southern services. This ensures fewer cancellations, and with more staff on board our trains now than ever before, passengers are enjoying a much better level of on-board customer service.

The GTR investment programme for stations includes funding for more CCTV, toilet refurbishments, new retail facilities, help points and car park improvements – as well as plans for increased motorcycle storage and improved transport integration.,,,

Govia Thameslink Railway
United Kingdom