‘Major headache’: Heathrow to be cut off from rail and Underground on Boxing Day

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Heathrow Airport will be cut off from the rail and Underground network on Boxing Day – one of the airport's busiest days of the year – because of planned engineering work.

No trains will be able to serve Heathrow on 25 and 26 December because of signalling, track and HS2 work between Paddington and Slough, according to Network Rail.

The Piccadilly line will also be suspended between Heathrow and Acton Town for seven days from Christmas Eve for other planned work, Transport for London (TfL) said.

Synchronised flights leave Heathrow

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Services normally operate to and from Heathrow on Boxing Day

Public transport across the UK usually shuts down on Christmas Day but services normally operate to and from Heathrow on Boxing Day.

Mike Gallop, Network Rail's western route and strategic operations director, said the shutdown was part of a plan to deliver a "safe and reliable train service to the tens of thousands of passengers who use services at Paddington every day".

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He said it would take 52 hours to remove ageing and unreliable signalling equipment and swap it with modern and reliable replacements.

"The very best time to do that is always when there are fewest people travelling," he said.

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"With no trains on Christmas Day and very few on Boxing Day, choosing those days clearly makes sense overall."

He said a "high quality and quick" bus replacement service would take passengers directly from central London to Heathrow.

Replacement coach services will operate "non-stop" between Hammersmith and Heathrow, while replacement buses will be available between Acton Town and Heathrow for local stations, TfL said.

A TfL spokesman said: "The festive period is one of the quietest times of the year on public transport and carrying out these essential works on the Piccadilly line over this period will minimise the disruption as much as possible."

Anthony Smith, chief executive of watchdog Transport Focus, welcomed the transport investments and said most people will avoid disruption to their journeys – but said the closures "will still be a major headache for some".

The self-service gates failed for the second time in two weeks

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Anthony Smith said the disruption will be a 'major headache' for some

"For passengers travelling over Christmas, engineering works are the last thing they want to hear about," he said.

The route to and from Heathrow is not the only one that faces disruption during the festive period due to engineering work.

Southern's Gatwick Airport trains will run to and from London Bridge instead of London Victoria between Christmas Day and 3 January.

Leeds will have a reduced service between 27 December and 3 January, including a "very limited" service on 2 January.

There will be no services between London King's Cross and Finsbury Park on Christmas Day or Boxing Day, and CrossCountry trains will not call at Bristol Parkway between 27 December and 31 December.

Some Great Western Railway services to and from Bristol Temple Meads will also be affected.

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