Changes to train times


Major improvement works taking place in 2017

Over the coming months, there will be a number of major improvement works taking place across the rail network, including in and around London.

Given the scale of the work taking place at London Bridge and London Waterloo in August, the train companies affected are asking customers to keep this in mind when booking holidays. Southeastern are also giving advance warning of major disruption at their London stations over Christmas and New Year 2017/2018. More details can be found below.

Please find below our detailed overview on the following key railway improvement projects:


London Waterloo and South West England

There are more than 230 million passenger journeys to and from London Waterloo every year. Network Rail are currently investing £800m in a programme of works to improve and increase the capacity of London Waterloo, Britain’s busiest station, and one of the country’s most used railways.

Between 5 and 28 August 2017, fewer trains will run in and out of London Waterloo. This includes the busiest times of the day – the morning and evening peaks. Between those dates, London Waterloo platforms 1-4,  together with platforms at Ascot, Bracknell, Camberley, Chertsey, Egham, Feltham, Martins Heron, Sunningdale, Virginia Water and Wokingham, will be extended so longer 10-carriage trains can run. This will provide thousands of extra seats every day.  

Platforms 1-9 will need to be closed throughout this time so the work can be carried out. Although Platforms 20 to 24 (the former Waterloo International terminal) will be in temporary use during this time, there will still be fewer South West Trains services.

The impact on your journey will vary depending on when and where you are travelling, a full timetable will be published nearer the time. But you may wish to start thinking about next August's journeys now. For example, if you are organising this year’s holiday you might want to keep these changes in mind.

Here are links so you can get more information on this project from South West Trains and Network Rail.

London Bridge

As part of the Thameslink Programme, work is continuing on rebuilding London Bridge station. When completed, London Bridge will have more through and longer platforms and a bigger concourse to cope with the 54 million passengers that go through every year.

Thameslink services which run through Central London are not calling at London Bridge until the work is completed in 2018, however there is a limited service which runs between London Bridge and Brighton.

Southeastern services to and from London Cannon Street are currently unable to call at London Bridge. Most London Charing Cross services do stop at London Bridge, but until August 2017, only a limited number of London Charing Cross line platforms will be available at London Bridge station. To accommodate busier routes and to keep services moving, some of these trains won’t be stopping at London Bridge during peak times.

Significant work will take place over the August 2017 bank holiday and the four working days after (26 August - 2 September). There will be no Southeastern services at London Bridge, London Charing Cross and London Waterloo East. This will have a considerable impact on journeys into and out of London, and those trains running may be diverted to different stations. As Southeastern will running less trains than normal during this time, trains and stations will be busy and you should look at alternative routes and travel outside of peak hours wherever possible, or consider working from home during this period. Customers should keep this in mind when booking holidays.

Southeastern are also giving customers advance notice that over Christmas and New Year 2017/18 there will be more work taking place that will severely impact their trains. From 23 December to 1 January 2018 there will be no trains at many main London stations served by Southeastern, which will include the working days in between Christmas and New Year.

Elizabeth Line

The Elizabeth line will transform travel across London, boosting the economy by billions of pounds and supporting thousands of new jobs and homes. The line, currently being constructed by Crossrail, will be named after the UK's longest serving monarch when it becomes operational in 2018.

Stretching over 60 miles from Reading and Heathrow to the west of London across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, the Elizabeth line will stop at 40 stations - 10 newly built and 30 newly upgraded - and serve approximately 200 million people each year.

A fleet of 66 new 200 metre long trains built in the United Kingdom will run on the Elizabeth line, featuring nine walk-through carriages, air conditioning, CCTV and live travel information. Each train will be able to carry up to 1,500 people.

The Elizabeth line opening plan is listed below: 

  • Ongoing - New trains are being introduced into passenger service (under TfL Rail) between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield. By autumn 2017 the new trains will make up half the TfL Rail fleet.
  • May 2018 - TfL Rail service opens between London Paddington and Heathrow Terminal 4, replacing the existing Heathrow Connect service and part of the Great Western Railway inner suburban service.
  • December 2018 - The Elizabeth line opens. Three separate services will run - between London Paddington and Abbey Wood, between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield, and between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport.
  • May 2019 - The Elizabeth line through service extends to run between Shenfield and London Paddington, and between Abbey Wood and London Paddington. Services from London Paddington to Heathrow Airport will continue to start and terminate in the National Rail station.
  • December 2019 - The Elizabeth line is fully open, with services running from Reading and Heathrow Airport in the west through the central tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.


Liverpool and the Wirral area

During the first six months of 2017, Network Rail is carrying out essential renewal work on the Liverpool city centre underground sections of the Wirral line. This means that various stretches of the Wirral line will close temporarily and there will be no trains between the Wirral area and Liverpool over specific periods of time.


The work is underway, and we've now entered the second of three phases:

Phase 2 until Monday 29 May: All Wirral line trains will start and terminate at James Street station from Monday to Friday. At weekends, all services will start and terminate at Birkenhead North and Birkenhead Central stations. Buses will run between Wirral and Liverpool stations.

Phase 3 from Tuesday 30 May to Sunday 18 June: All Wirral line trains will start and terminate at Birkenhead North and Birkenhead Central. Buses will run between Wirral and Liverpool stations.

High Speed Two (HS2)

High Speed Two, mostly referred to as simply HS2, is the planned £56 billion rail network between London, the West Midlands and the North

The first phase (construction from now to 2026) will link London Euston and Birmingham, while the Y-shaped second phase (2026 to 2033) will link Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds. By the time both phases are finished in 2033 there will be 350 miles of new track.

Trains will run on the new lines at speeds of up to 250 mph. Each train will be 400 metres long and will carry up to 1,100 customers. There will be up to 14 trains per hour in each direction.

The first HS2 phase includes a revamp and expansion of London Euston station, there will be a new Old Oak Common station in west London, and two new Birmingham stations at Curzon and Interchange. Preparatory work on Phase One is underway, with major construction work beginning in 2018. An interactive map of the Phase One route is available on the HS2 website.

Details of planned engineering work for approximately the next 12 weeks is available on our Future Engineering Work page.

The Network Rail website also has some interesting information on railway improvement works.