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!

Here are some of the largest projects:

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.

Southeastern are also giving advance warning that significant work will take place over the August 2017 bank holiday and the four working days after (26 August - 2 September), and are asking customers to keep this in mind when booking holidays. Trains will be severely impacted during this time.

Gospel Oak to Barking

The electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking line in north London is underway. This project involves erecting overhead power lines on over 10 miles of track, altering the heights of bridges, and lowering tracks in a number of locations. Station platforms are being extended to allow new four-carriage electric trains to run, which will replace the existing two-carriage diesel trains from January 2018.

Network Rail is carrying out the major work to electrify the line. Until February 2017, the line is closed and no trains are running between Gospel Oak and Barking. Buses are running between Gospel Oak and Seven Sisters, and also between Walthamstow Central and Barking. You can use London Underground between Seven Sisters and Walthamstow Central.


During the first six months of 2017, Network Rail will be carrying out essential renewal work on the 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 being carried out in three phases. 

Until Sunday 12 February: All Wirral line trains will start and terminate at Birkenhead North and Birkenhead Central. Buses will run between Wirral and Liverpool stations.

Monday 13 February to 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.

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.

Bath Spa

Network Rail is modernising Bath Spa station in preparation for new, longer trains which will enter service later this year. The first phase of the project will take place between 8 and 23 April. The work will include making the platforms wider and will also reduce the stepping distance to and from trains.

Platform 1 will also be extended to accommodate the new trains, with this work due to be finished by August.

During the engineering works, there will be platform alterations, changes to train times and rail replacement buses in operation. More information regarding this will be published on the Future engineering work page next week.

London Waterloo

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, Platforms 1-4 will be extended so longer ten-carriage trains can stop at suburban stations for the first time. 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.

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 until May 2017 - Shenfield improvement work, including building a new platform and remodelling a junction ready for new trains. Buses replace TfL Rail trains between Brentwood and Shenfield.
May 2017 - The first new train enters passenger service (under TfL Rail) between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield
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 between London Paddington and Abbey Wood, London Liverpool Street and Shenfield, London Paddington and Heathrow Terminal 4.
May 2019 - The Elizabeth line through service extends from Shenfield to London Paddington.
December 2019 - The Elizabeth line is fully open, extending to Reading and Heathrow Terminal 4. 


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.