Christmas travel chaos predicted for Heathrow and Gatwick

Christmas travel chaos predicted for Heathrow and Gatwick

Image credit: CristinaMuraca /

Christmas travel chaos is being predicted for hundreds of thousands of airline passengers as they get away over the holiday period.

With one of the busiest-ever holiday getaways expected, train links to both Heathrow and Gatwick will be disrupted over the festive break.

Gatwick is set to bear the brunt of the shutdown with the Gatwick Express due to stop running at 9.15pm on Christmas Eve before restarting on January 4.

The main line to the airport will be blocked at Purley for 10 days.

Services are subject to bus replacement services and changes in route throughout Christmas, some of which are not recommended for passengers who require assistance or have heavy luggage, Gatwick said.

A spokesman for Gatwick airport said: “We recommend passengers check updates before they travel, plan their route carefully, and allow extra time if intending to travel by rail during this time.

“These works are an essential part of plans to double rail capacity at Gatwick by 2020.”

At Heathrow there will be a three day rail closure from December 25 when neither Heathrow Express nor Heathrow Connect services will run from Paddington station in London.

Heathrow said the Piccadilly Line and additional bus and coach services will be operating and passengers are advised to leave extra time when travelling to the airport.

The closure is due to work on Crossrail in the Thames Valley area which is due to start operating in 2019.

Stephen Joseph, director of the Campaign for Better Transport, told the Independent: “These engineering works will of course cause huge problems for travellers and I suspect the decision has been taken to inconvenience airline passengers, rather than inconvenience commuters.

“What these closures highlight, however, is the lack of surface transport options to both Heathrow and Gatwick, which is something the Government is still failing to address in its plans for airport expansion.”


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