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27 November 2013, 14:39
Rail passengers across the Thames Valley will have to contend with line closures, reduced services and buses replacing trains on a number of routes over Christmas and the new year period.
The disruptions, due to essential engineering work, include the axing of all Gatwick Express services from Christmas Day to the end of New Year's Day.
Some mainline services to Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport will also be affected.
The cancellations on the Gatwick Express, which runs from London's Victoria station to Gatwick Airport in West Sussex, are due to a major tranche of engineering work being carried out at Gatwick station, at Victoria and between Redhill and Purley in Surrey.
This extensive work will also affect services operated by the First Capital Connect (FCC), First Great Western (FGW) and Southern train companies Certain trains will not run over the festive period, with bus replacement services operating on some routes.
Engineering work is taking place between Paddington station in London and Slough in Berkshire from December 27 to January 3. This will mean disruption to some FGW services, while some Heathrow Express services will be affected from December 30 to January 1.
FGW passengers will also have to put up with engineering work between Oxford and Hanborough from December 27 to 29, while FGW services and those run by the CrossCountry are being disrupted by engineering work between Reading and Basingstoke from December 27 to 30.
FGW passengers will have to use buses instead of trains between Maidenhead and Marlow from December 27 to 29 due to engineering work, while FGW services will also be disrupted from December 29 to January 3 by engineering work between Reading and Didcot Parkway.
Buses will replace trains on parts of London Overground between December 23 and 27 due to engineering work between Surrey Quays and New Cross Gate/New Cross.
Platforms 1-9 will be closed at Waterloo station in London from December 27 to 29, with disruptions to services by South West Trains.
On the Victoria, Gatwick and Surrey disruptions, Network Rail Sussex route managing director Tim Robinson said: ``These are three significant infrastructure upgrades which have been carefully planned to take place at the same time to keep disruption to a minimum.''
One good bit of news for travellers is that the Chiltern train company will for the first time be running some services on Boxing Day. Its trains will operate for around 12 hours, with the first train northbound from London to Bicester North at 8.15am and the last to Princes Risborough at 6.45pm.
Southbound, the first train will run from High Wycombe to Marylebone station in London at 8.29am and the last will run from Bicester North to Marylebone at 6.57pm.
On the Tube there is track replacement work at Earl's Court in west London over the festive period. There will be part closures on the District and Jubilee lines between December 27 and 30, while a section of the Northern line will be shut on December 28 and 29.