Warning of rail chaos this Christmas

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Severe disruptions will hit Horsham rail services from December 26, 2013, to January 1, 2014, it was announced last week.

All Southern routes to and from London Victoria and all routes in the Gatwick Airport area will be affected, National Rail have stated.

National Rail says the disruption will be due to extensive improvement work due to be carried out on the Southern network.

Rail services between Redhill and Purley will be suspended from Christmas Day to New Year’s Day and there will also be no Gatwick Express service during this period.

A revised Southern service will operate on other lines.

The news has angered some commuters, who fear their work and holiday plans for this period will be adversely affected. Christmas is one of the busiest periods of the year, and residents have raised concerns that problems with an already stretched rail service are likely to be exacerbated by the major engineering works throughout the festive period.

Horsham resident Laurence Price remarked: “Its going to be chaotic. Getting to points like Croydon or Redhill from Horsham is going to be very difficult during that time.

“Then there’s the insult of above-inflation fare increases in January!”

Speaking outside Horsham railway station this week, Les Russell, 53, commented: “For people who are travelling to see their families at this time it’s going to be a major headache.

“It’s certainly an inconvenience given the prices they’re charging!”

The service closures between Redhill and Purley are to allow for the renovation of a major rail junction just south of Purley, Southern Rail state on its website.

The company anticipates this new junction will improve train performance in an area which has suffered from speed restrictions in recent years.

The work at Gatwick Airport will allow the completion of a new Platform 7, along with associated changes to track and signalling in the area.

Southern Rail expect Platform 7 to be in use from February 2014, and is hopeful that the extra platform will improve train service performance, particularly during peak times.

Passengers are advised to allow more time than normal for their travel and consult nationalrail.co.uk for specific journey details.