West Coast main line: Christmas travel via Milton Keynes clear but upgrades planned for New Year

Flood protection works will improve journeys between Milton Keynes and Rugby

By Olga Norford
Monday, 20th December 2021, 3:16 pm
Updated Monday, 20th December 2021, 3:20 pm

Passengers using the West Coast main line though Milton Keynes can rely on the railway to get home to loved ones in time for Christmas.

Major bank holiday upgrades will take place on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, when traditionally the railway shuts down for a festive 'face-lift'.

However, passengers are being given advance notice of upcoming essential work after the holiday season is over.

Christmas travel should be clear however passengers are being given advance notice of upcoming essential work after the holiday season is over

Between January 4-12, flood protection upgrades will improve future journeys on the West Coast main line between Milton Keynes and Rugby.

The work will prevent heavy rain from flooding tracks, making the economically important rail route more reliable for passengers and freight.

James Dean, Network Rail’s West Coast South route director, said: “We’ve worked hard with train operators to reduce the impact of our railway upgrade work on passengers so that they can spend time with their families and friends this Christmas and New Year.

“We do have major work approaching in January which we’re letting people know about early on - so it doesn’t come as a surprise. Fortunately, we can use a diversionary route so passengers can stay on the move, but there will be fewer services, longer journey times or some passengers may need to change trains.”

> Between 4-12 January, trains will be diverted via Northampton to bypass the 4km long trackside drainage upgrades.

> This will add around 25 minutes onto West Coast main line journeys for Avanti West Coast customers.

> London Northwestern Railway passengers travelling between Crewe and Euston will need to change trains at Rugby and it will run fewer services.

Passengers are asked to check the website and plan their journeys in advance.

Lawrence Bowman, customer experience director for London Northwestern Railway, said: “These essential maintenance projects over Christmas and New Year will improve the reliability of our rail infrastructure and reduce the likelihood of delays in the future. I urge customers to plan their rail travel in advance during the West Coast Main Line work near Milton Keynes in January when some journeys will take longer.”

Gus Dunster, executive director of operations and safety at Avanti West Coast, said: “As Network Rail carry out essential works near Milton Keynes in January, there’ll be changes to our services and extended journey times to and from London Euston. We strongly recommend you make a reservation, plan your journey in advance as well as check the National Rail Enquiries website before travelling.”

Passengers can find out how their journeys will be affected with their train operator, via National Rail Enquiries, or by following #ChristmasRailWorks on Twitter.

To combat Covid-19, passengers must wear a face covering in train stations, on train services and any replacement bus services. Those who fail to do so face a fine of £200.

For more information visitMeanwhile, enhanced cleaning procedures will remain in place to stop the spread of coronavirus, with hand sanitisers on station concourses.

To find out more about what Network Rail is doing to stop the spread of Covid-19 visit