#SouthernFail: Rail closures promise Boxing Day chaos

Southern’s apology for a rail service looks set to create traffic chaos on the roads in and around south London on Boxing Day and in the week following, when Brighton supporters drive up from the south coast for their game against Chelsea, and when thousands of Arsenal fans struggle to get to Selhurst Park for their club’s Premier League match against Crystal Palace on December 28.

Because on Boxing Day, next Tuesday, December 26, there are no Southern train services into Victoria.

Under the guise of “essential engineering works”, Southern’s decided to force football fans and January Sales shoppers into their cars for the post-Christmas Bank Holiday.

There are also scheduled rail works going on at London Bridge, as Network Rail looks to complete – finally – the £1billion reworking of junctions and tracks in and around the Thameslink line – which all started back in 2009. Works are due for completion in the spring, but in the meantime, there are closures from this weekend until January 1.

None of which will make it any easier for Croydon residents to travel in to central London.

The situation on the Brighton line will exacerbate the delays, over-crowding and inconvenience faced by anyone seeking to travel around the city.

There is work going on at Redhill, but that is the only work shown on Southern’s website.

Thought they do ask the public, basically, not to bother travelling from this Saturday, and not to consider such a silly notion for more than a week.

“A reduced service will be running on some routes from 23 Dec to 1 Jan while Network Rail carrying out improvement works. If you can, travel before this date to avoid the engineering works.”

The train operators are offering a half-hourly Boxing Day bus service operating Brighton/Gatwick, Gatwick/Victoria and Victoria/East Croydon.

So for someone wanting to travel from Brighton to London, in the absence of the usual train service, which takes less than an hour, they have a bus journey which is supposed to take 2hr 43min. Travelling from Brighton to East Croydon entails taking a bus to Victoria and then changing, to ride on another bus back into south London; if you’re lucky, that could take just 4hr 50min out of your Bank Holiday.

Goodness knows what any tourists arriving laden with luggage and anticipation at “London Gatwick” on the day after Christmas will think when confronted with those sort of third-world travel options.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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