Published on : Monday, December 12, 2016
Passengers and shoppers at London Paddington are in for a festive treat on Monday as two of Santa’s reindeer arrive at the station to remind everyone travelling from the west to plan their journey this Christmas.
The reindeer, called Bubble and Primo, will be joined by Percy the owl over the lunch period (10am-2pm) as Christmas comes early to London Paddington ahead of Network Rail’s biggest ever festive upgrade, which will see £103 million invested into the railway and up to 200 projects delivered over the holiday period.
The upgrade means there will be no train services in or out of London Paddington from 24 to 29 December (inclusive), with a reduced timetable between 30 December and 2 January (inclusive). Passengers arriving from the west will see services start and end at Ealing Broadway during the closure although retail units at the station will remain open, and London Underground and other Transport for London services will still run.
The reindeer event is being hosted by Network Rail and train operator Great Western Railway (GWR), to remind passengers to plan their journeys this Christmas. The changes are necessary as Network Rail upgrades the railway as part of the Crossrail project.
Richard Griffiths, Network Rail’s head of communications for the Crossrail project said: “Successful completion of these Christmas works is not only vital to delivering the Crossrail project, but is an integral part of our Railway Upgrade Plan as we continue to enhance the capacity and reliability of our railway.
“However, we can’t carry out major upgrades to the railway while still running trains – and it is a simple fact that over the Christmas holidays, the number of passengers drops by up to 50% on key commuter routes.
“This will mean changes to services over the festive period, so we strongly advise passengers to plan their journeys as early as possible.”
GWR Paddington station manager Dave Martin said: “These improvement works will ultimately increase capacity and connectivity in London and the Thames Valley, and on the wider Great Western network. New trains are already in operation on some GWR routes and more are on their way during the course of 2017 and 2018 – delivering more seats and more frequent services.
“We have worked closely with our colleagues at Network Rail to keep disruption to a minimum; however we urge customer to travel early and to note that we will not be able to run trains between London Paddington and Ealing Broadway for four days from and including Christmas Eve. We strongly advise customers with luggage, children or who require assisted travel, to use London Marylebone, Euston or Waterloo.”