National Express keeps Christmas on track
- National Express the only national public transport network on Christmas and Boxing Day
- RMT strikes and engineering works threaten Christmas getaway by rail
- 30k extra coach seats added over the Christmas holidays
- 22nd Dec the busiest day in the run up to Christmas with 70k passengers
National Express is set to keep the wheels turning for travellers this Christmas while the rail network faces major disruption.
The UK’s largest coach operator is adding nearly 30,000 extra seats to its services over the Christmas period (18th December – 2nd January) to meet demand as engineering works, rail shutdowns and rail strikes threaten people’s festive travel plans.
Coach travel is becoming increasingly popular over Christmas: bookings on Christmas Day are up by nearly a quarter this year according to National Express’ figures while the busiest day for travel in the run up to Christmas is Friday 22nd December when National Express will be carrying approximately 70,000 passengers.
Extra seats and services is in sharp contrast to rail with passengers set to face significant disruption this Christmas.
No trains are running on Christmas Day or Boxing Day making National Express the only national public transport network option and RMT strikes are set to disrupt Virgin and CrossCountry, South Western and Greater Anglia services over the Christmas holidays.
In addition a number of rail engineering projects mean that five of the seven mainline routes will be closed during over Christmas prompting some train operators to advise passengers not to travel.
National Express however is running a full complement of services over the festive period including: Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, and it is adding thousands of extra seats to services serving key locations that are seeing increasing demand including: Bournemouth, Cardiff, Leeds, Edinburgh, Portsmouth, Bristol, Glasgow and Manchester.
National Express Coach Managing Director Chris Hardy said: “News of strikes, rail shutdowns and engineering works heralds a not very Merry Christmas for many who want to travel during the festive period.
“National Express however is serving up its biggest ever Christmas with more stops, seats and services on Christmas Day than ever before and a full timetable of services with extra capacity during the Christmas holiday fortnight - all keeping Britain moving.
“In addition our passengers benefit from a guaranteed seat, generous luggage allowance, films, TV and magazines through our complimentary onboard entertainment VUER app, as well as power sockets to make getting home for Christmas a really enjoyable experience.”
Christmas rail disruption:
- RMT strikes will affect Virgin services on December 15 and 22 and on January 5, 8, 26 and 29 and CrossCountry services on December 9 and 10, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. The RMT is also planning strike on South Western Railway services on New Year’s Eve and Greater Anglia on Wednesday, December 27.
- London Paddington station will be shut from the evening of December 23rd to December 28th with Great Western Railway advising passengers to travel by 23 December at the latest.
- Southeastern services will not be running from London Bridge, Charing Cross, Waterloo East or Cannon Street from December 23rd to January 1st.
The Thameslink cross-London southbound route will be shut from December 23rd to January 1st.
- South Western Railways will be shutting lines between Southampton Central and Eastleigh from December 24th to January 1st, and from Southampton to Fareham on December 20th and 31st.
- West Coast Coast Main Line services will be disrupted with no trains between Preston and Lancaster from December 24th to the 27th.
- The Gatwick Express will not run on Boxing Day and will have a reduced service from December 27th – 29th
- The Heathrow Express will also be shut from December 23rd to the 29th.
Christmas coach headlines:
CHRISTMAS DAY National Express is serving 81 locations including 10 new stops, clocking up around 33,000 miles, with tens of thousands of seats available, while bookings on the day are up by a quarter year-on-year.
NEW stops served on Christmas Day this year are: Bridgwater, Margate, Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Lewisham, Worthing, Hull, Doncaster, Birmingham Airport, Golders Green.
EXTRA National Express will be adding 30,000 extra seats over the Christmas period and running a full compliment of services including on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
The top ten most popular destinations to travel to on Christmas Day are:
For more information or to book visit www.nationalexpress.com