Everything you need to know about travelling with Greater Anglia this Christmas

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Greater Anglia is seeking to keep rail passengers well informed about travelling by rail this Christmas – reminding them to check before they travel, so they’re not caught out by earlier last trains, engineering works and any other alterations.

Until Christmas Eve and from Monday 4 January, Greater Anglia is running a near normal timetable.

However, between these dates, there are some changes to some services.

On Christmas Eve, the last services of the day will be earlier than usual, finishing by approximately 22.00.

As usual, there will be no service on Christmas Day and only a revised Stansted Express service on Boxing Day - in this case between Stansted Airport and Tottenham Hale.

In addition, to help further improve service reliability, Network Rail is carrying out major engineering works, at a range of locations, including Colchester, Stratford and London, on the Great Eastern Main Line which runs between Norwich, Ipswich, Colchester, Chelmsford, Shenfield and London.

These works will mean many journeys will involve longer journey times, a bus replacement service for part of the way and/or travel via an alternative route.

Routes affected by engineering work over the festive period are:

  • Great Eastern Main Line (Norwich – London mainline and branch lines) services from Friday 25 December to Sunday 3 January inclusive
  • Clacton/Walton – Colchester services from Friday 25 December to Sunday 3 January inclusive
  • Southend Victoria to London services on 27/28 December and 1/2/3 January
  • Norwich to Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft services on 27/28 December and 1/2/3 January
  • Marks Tey to Sudbury and Witham to Braintree services will be operated by replacement buses on 27/28 December and 1/2/3 January

Revised timetables are available in the "service alterations" section of the Greater Anglia website, or on the Greater Anglia app or Twitter.

The Greater Anglia network is currently within Tier 2 high covid alert and in general Government advice is that people should make fewer journeys where possible.

The Government is suggesting that people making journeys to join their Christmas bubbles should travel between 23 and 27 December.

Greater Anglia is advising that anyone travelling between these dates books their ticket as far in advance as possible, book online and check the ‘Less Busy Trains’ section of their website.

Services are being planned to provide enough capacity for the expected demand and to help customers to socially distance and spread out on board, with services on a number of routes operated by Greater Anglia’s new longer trains.

Details of Christmas arrangements can be found here: greateranglia.co.uk/travel-information/service-disruptions/christmas-2020-service-summary

For anyone who decides not to make their journey and holds an advance ticket purchased before 26 November for travel between 3 December and 2 January, the rail industry has agreed that these will be refunded without charge.

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia Managing Director said, "Rail staff across the network will be here to help passengers travel with confidence over Christmas, getting them to their destinations safely and reliably.

"They will be doing everything possible to keep travellers safe, including cleaning and sanitising trains and regularly disinfecting high contact areas.

"Our passenger numbers are still much lower than usual and in addition, we have new longer trains running on many of our routes which will help too.

However, as usual, there are some changes to services over the festive period, so we encourage everyone to check before they travel, so their journeys can go smoothly and as expected.

"I would like to thank my colleagues and our passengers for their support during a very challenging year and wish them all a peaceful and happy festive season."

Greater Anglia continues to ensure that rail travel is safe for staff and passengers with an enhanced cleaning regime, on stations and trains, concentrating on high-touch areas such as push buttons, grab rails and door handles.

The train operator has also introduced a wide range of measures to make it easier for customers to maintain social distancing at stations and on trains - including floor markings, one-way systems, new signs and queuing systems.

It is now mandatory for customers to wear a face covering when using public transport, to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. Children under the age of 11 and people with a disability or illness which means they cannot wear a face covering are exempt from wearing them.

Information about Christmas travel arrangements and what Greater Anglia is doing to keep rail passenger safe is available on the company’s website and social media and a blog is also available here: greateranglia.co.uk/about-us/news-desk/blog-post

Details of engineering works between Christmas and New Year:

Great Eastern Mainline (Norwich – London) and branch lines:

Sunday 27 and Monday 28 December - Buses will replace trains between the following locations:

Ipswich and Stansted Airport; fast (change onto Greater Anglia Stansted Express services between Stansted Airport and London Liverpool Street).

Manningtree / Hythe / Colchester / Marks Tey / Kelvedon / Witham / Hatfield Peverel / Chelmsford / Ingatestone / Shenfield and Newbury Park Central Line tube station.

Braintree and Witham.

Sudbury and Marks Tey

Trains will operate between Clacton-on-Sea and Colchester Town, and between Walton-on-the-Naze and Colchester Town. Passengers should change at Hythe for connecting buses to Colchester and beyond. A shuttle train service will operate between Manningtree and Ipswich, and between Manningtree and Harwich Town. National Rail tickets will be accepted on TfL Central Line services between Newbury Park and Stratford/ London Liverpool Street.

Tuesday 29, Wednesday 30 and Thursday 31 December - A reduced service will operate on most routes. Buses will replace trains between the following locations:

Marks Tey and Ipswich (fast)

Marks Tey and Manningtree (via Colchester)

Marks Tey and Hythe (via Colchester)

Marks Tey and Sudbury.

Trains will operate between Colchester Town and Clacton-on-Sea, and between Colchester Town and Walton-on-Naze; connecting with buses at Hythe. A shuttle train service will operate between Manningtree and Ipswich, and between Manningtree and Harwich Town.

Friday 1, Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 January - Buses will replace trains between the following locations:

Ipswich and Stansted Airport; fast (change onto Greater Anglia Stansted Express services between Stansted Airport and London Liverpool Street)

Manningtree / Hythe / Colchester / Marks Tey / Kelvedon / Witham / Hatfield Peverel / Chelmsford / Ingatestone / Shenfield and Newbury Park Central Line tube station

Braintree and Witham

Sudbury and Marks Tey

Trains will operate between Clacton-on-Sea and Colchester Town, and between Walton-on-the-Naze and Colchester Town. Passengers should change at Hythe for connecting buses to Colchester and beyond. A shuttle train service will operate between Manningtree and Ipswich, and between Manningtree and Harwich Town. National Rail tickets will be accepted on TfL Central Line services between Newbury Park and Stratford / London Liverpool Street.

Regional routes in Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk

Sunday 27 and Monday 28 December - Buses will replace trains between Norwich and Great Yarmouth and between Norwich and Lowestoft

Tuesday 29, Wednesday 30 and Thursday 31 December – Normal service.

Friday 1 January 2021 – Buses will replace trains between Norwich and Great Yarmouth and between Norwich and Lowestoft all day. A Sunday level of service will operate on all other local routes out of Norwich and Ipswich.

Saturday 2 January 2021 – Normal service.

Southend Victoria, Southminster and Shenfield to London

Sunday 27, Monday 28 December, Friday 1, Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 January - Southend Victoria services will operate between Southend Victoria and Shenfield only, with buses replacing trains between Shenfield and Newbury Park TfL Central Line tube station. National Rail tickets to/from London will be accepted on the TfL Central Line between Newbury Park TfL Central Line tube station and Stratford/ London Liverpool Street. A shuttle train service will operate between Wickford and Southminster.

Tuesday 29, Wednesday 30 and Thursday 31 December - A half-hourly train service will operate between Liverpool Street and Southend Victoria, calling at Stratford, Shenfield and all-stations to Southend Victoria.
A further four Mainline trains per hour will operate between Liverpool Street and Shenfield (and beyond), also calling at Stratford. An hourly shuttle train service will operate between Wickford and Southminster.

Cambridge, Stansted Airport, Bishop’s Stortford, Hertford East to London

Sunday 27 December - Stratford to Meridian Water services will be reduced in frequency to hourly. All other services operate as normal.

Monday 28, Tuesday 29, Wednesday 30 and Thursday 31 December - A Saturday style timetable will be in operation. Some early morning and late evening West Anglia services will be diverted via the Hackney Downs route to/from Liverpool Street.

Friday 1 January 2021 - A Sunday-style timetable is planned to operate on this day.
Stratford to Meridian Water services will be reduced in frequency to hourly.

Saturday 2 January - Some early morning and late evening West Anglia services will be diverted via the Hackney Downs route to/from Liverpool Street.

Sunday 3 January - Stratford to Meridian Water services will be reduced in frequency to hourly.