With London Euston set to close to all rail services from the North over the next three weekends, the remaining options for rail travel to the capital have been set out by operator Virgin Trains.
Virgin is, first and foremost, advising passengers not to travel to London unless necessary, but has confirmed that tickets already booked will be valid on certain other routes.
All tickets booked for any of the Fridays preceding the weekends in question – today, 24 August and 31 August – will be available at off-peak prices from 9.30am. Services will be running north through the weekends from Milton Keynes Central, Virgin confirmed, although there will be no southbound trains from that station.
By the alternative routes suggested by Virgin, passengers from Manchester are advised to either travel to Birmingham and use the Chiltern Mainline service from Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone, or to travel to Leeds for the LNER service to Kings Cross, although this won’t be available on 25 August.
Passengers from Liverpool and the western and southern parts of the region are advised to travel to Crewe, from where services to Rugby can connect to a London St Pancras service, although the part of the journey to Kettering will be by rail replacement bus.
Tickets already booked may be valid on other “reasonable routes”. All information on alternative routes, timetables and rail replacement buses can be accessed by clicking the How will my journey be affected tab on Virgin’s website. Virgin also advises passengers to contact the @virgintrains Twitter feed with any queries and to check services with National Rail Enquiries.
All passengers are advised to expect busier trains and that they should plan for longer, diverted journeys.
The closures are due to Network Rail’s replacement of the North Wembley junction, part of the national railway upgrade plan.
Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail’s London North Western route said: “There is never an ideal time to shut the railway but these three weekends are the least disruptive times to do it.
“We have worked together for the past three years with train operators to carefully plan this closure of the railway in a way that minimises impact on customers.
“It’s vital the track at North Wembley is replaced to continue to safely meet the huge demand of passenger and freight rail services on the West Coast main line. This work will result in better, more reliable journeys in future.”
Peter Broadley, executive director for customer, operations and safety at Virgin Trains on the west coast, said: “With no services into or out of Euston we strongly advise our customers to avoid travelling to London on the days affected.
“We know this will impact on people’s travel plans, particularly over a bank holiday weekend so we encourage customers to plan ahead and where possible travel at other times.”