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Rail delays hit airport passengers

Rail delays have led to hold-ups for passengers heading for Gatwick and Stansted Airports.

For Gatwick-bound travellers, there were problems for the third day running due to, initially, signalling problems at Burgess Hill in West Sussex and then staff shortages on the Thameslink and Great Northern routes.

Those travelling towards Stansted were delayed by a signal problem at the Essex airport's rail station around lunchtime.

There were other delays during the morning rush-hour.

South West Trains' passengers were held up by a broken-down train at Wimbledon in south-west London, while a signalling problem near Canley in the West Midlands led to delays to services run by the CrossCountry, London Midland and Virgin Trains companies.

In Kent and East Sussex, signalling problems between Ashford International and Rye caused hold-ups.

Travellers on Thameslink and Great Northern routes were warned to expect short-notice cancellations, delays and alterations to services owing to the staff shortages.

Govia Thameslink Railway chief executive Charles Horton apologised to passengers.

He said: "Regrettably, despite our best efforts, some services have been cancelled because we have not had enough drivers for all our rail services, especially given the essential training we are undertaking at the moment to deliver Thameslink Programme works.

"We inherited this issue when we took over the franchise in September and we are determined to address it. Thank you for your patience and please accept our apologies. We are determined to make things better."

Tweeting passengers appeared less than impressed. Aran Beedham said the Thameslink situation was "now descending into a farce" while a tweet under the title Trainslate spoke of "the ridiculous driver-shortage excuse".

Candy Cane Staiano tweeted: "Thameslink (formerly run by equally rubbish First Capital Connect) your train service has been shocking this week! Hang your head in shame.

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Getaway traffic building up on M25

Rail woe for Gatwick travellers

Gatwick-bound travellers were held up for a third morning running by problems on the railway.

The latest difficulty for those heading to the West Sussex airport by train was caused by a signalling problem at Burgess Hill in West Sussex.

As well as affecting the Gatwick Express services, the problem caused delays to trains run by the Southern and Thameslink companies.

There were other delays during the morning rush-hour. In Kent and East Sussex, signalling problems between Ashford International and Rye caused hold-ups.

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Oxford buildings recreated in Christmas ice sculpture

Giant ice sculpture celebrating Christmas Credit: ITV Meridian
Giant ice sculpture celebrating Christmas Credit: ITV Meridian

Marylebone station has a giant ice sculpture on show to celebrate Christmas. It shows the Radcliffe Camera Building, Dreaming Spites of Oxford along with Big Ben and Chiltern Railways train to mark new services from Oxford Parkway to Marylebone next September.

400 miles of roadworks to be lifted over Christmas

Almost 400 miles of Highways Agency roadworks will be lifted over Christmas and New Year to help festive journeys go smoothly.

The Agency aims to complete or lift 156 schemes by December 23 – leaving 97.2% of the Agency’s 9,628-mile network free of roadworks in time for the holidays.

This Christmas, we’re helping road users make important journeys to see family and friends by clearing roadworks across the majority of motorways and major A-roads in England. This will be a great help to people travelling over the festive period – by lifting or completing roadworks, more lanes will be open and many of the associated speed restrictions will also be lifted. We advise drivers to plan longer journeys before setting out, making sure you check weather and travel conditions. It’s also worth packing an emergency winter kit in your boot before making any seasonal journeys this Christmas. Make sure you’ve got de-icer, an ice-scraper, warm clothes, boots and a torch, in case your vehicle breaks down.

– Simon Sheldon-Wilson, Highways Agency Director of Customer Operations

To help drivers, the Highways Agency will complete 264 miles of roadworks at 107 locations before the holiday. A further 49 sets of roadworksand lane restrictions will be removed across 118 miles of carriageway by 6am onTuesday, December 23, until midnight on Friday, January 2.

This year, the Agency is doing more work than ever to improve the condition of its network, reduce congestion and provide real long-term benefits for drivers.

A record amount of money is being invested in the Agency’s roads, but this means there are more roadworks on the ground – with 219 schemes this Christmas compared to 172 last year.

The full list of schemes which will be completed, lifted or left in place over the Christmas period is as follows:

Completed A34 / M40 J9 (near Bicester) Pinch Point Programme Junction Improvement 3 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

A27 (near Worthing) Tunnel Inspection 2 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

A20 (unnamed road) (near Dover) Carriageway new line marking safety improvement 7.5 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

A21 between Vinehall Street and Kent Street (near Hastings) Speed safety inspection / survey 2 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

A21 Pillory Corner (near Tunbridge Wells) Drainage inspection 1 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

A27 Shoreham By-pass (near Worthing) Tunnel maintenance 1 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

A27 Manor Road (near Worthing) Lighting repairs 1 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

A27 Arundel / Crossbush (near Chichester) Drainage 1 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

A27 Manor Road (near Chichester) Cycleway work 2.5 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

M20 J10 -11 (near Ashford) Stabilisation of embankment slope 3 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

M20 J5 - 6 (near Maidstone) Drainage work 3 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

M23 J8 (near Crawley) Stabilisation of embankment slope 1.5 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

A2 Ebbsfleet (near Gravesend) Lighting renewal 1 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

A20 The Viaduct (near Dover) Pavement Investigation 1 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

A20 Wellsley Road (near Dover) Pavement Investigation 1 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

A23 (un-named road) (near Crawley) Resurfacing work 13 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

A27 Lewes Road (near Brighton) Pavement Investigation 2 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

M20 (un-named road) (near Folkestone) Advanced signing 1 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

M23 (unnamed road) (near Crawley) Barrier replacement work 1 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

M25 J30 to Wennington (near Thurrock) Lane 1 closure for A13 average speed camera work 3.4 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

A13 from Junction with A1089 to Junction with M25 (nearThurrock) Lane 1 and 2 closure for A13 Average speed camera work 12.6 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

M25 J30 / A13 (near Dartford) Average speed camera installation 5 mile(s) of roadworks completed for Christmas and New Year.

Lifted: A27 Chichester By-pass (near Chichester) Construction of new roundabout 3 mile(s) of roadworks lifted for Christmas and New Year period.

A23 Handcross (near Redhill) Widening scheme 11 mile(s) of roadworks lifted for Christmas and New Year period.

A1089 Asda Roundabout to Dock Road / Dock Road to AsdaRoundabout (near Thurrock / Grays Town) Bridge joint replacement works with a contraflow 0.1 mile(s) of roadworks lifted for Christmas and New Year period.

M25 J29-J31 (near Dartford) Statutory undertake diversion used in lane 1 5.5 mile(s) of roadworks lifted for Christmas and New Year period.

A43 Padbury Roundabout - Ardley Roundabout (near Bicester) Junction improvements 0.75 mile(s) of roadworks lifted for Christmas and New Year period.

Remaining: M3 J6 (near Basingstoke) Roundabout improvements 50mph speed restriction with narrow lanes - 0.6 miles of roadworks - Nil toslight delays expected. Reason roadworks cannot be lifted for the Christmas and New Year period: Openexcavations.

M4 J8 - 9 (near Reading) Bridge works 50mph speed restriction with narrow lanes - 4 miles of roadworks - Nil toslight delays expected. Reason roadworks cannot be lifted for the Christmas and New Year period: Openexcavations.

M27 J3 - 2 (near Ower) Waterproofing works 50mph speed restriction with narrow lanes - 1.6 miles of roadworks - Nil toslight delays expected. Reason roadworks cannot be lifted for the Christmas and New Year period: Openexcavations.

M27 J3 (near Southampton) Junction Improvements (pinch point programme) 50mph speed restriction with narrow lanes - 0.5 miles of roadworks - Nil toslight delays expected. Reason roadworks cannot be lifted for the Christmas and New Year period: Openexcavations.

M4 J10 Links (near Wokingham) Junction Improvements (pinch point programme) 50mph speed restriction with narrow lanes - 5 miles of roadworks - Nil toslight delays expected. Reason roadworks cannot be lifted for the Christmas and New Year period: Openexcavations.

M27 J5 (near Eastleigh) Junction Improvements (pinch point programme) 30mph speed restriction with narrow lanes - 2 miles of roadworks - Nil toslight delays expected. Reason roadworks cannot be lifted for the Christmas and New Year period: Openexcavations.

M3 J2-J4A (near Farnborough) Upgrading M3 to all lanes running 50mph speed restriction with narrow lanes between junction 3 and junction 1 andcontraflow between junction 4a and junction 3 - 32 miles of roadworks -Moderate delays expected. Reason roadworks cannot be lifted for the Christmas and New Year period:Traffic management removal not an option because there will be large areas of openexcavations and all central reserve safety barrier will be removed.