Major London stations to close around Christmas as drivers told to avoid roads before 6pm

London King's Cross will be closed on Christmas Eve. Credit: PA

Major railway stations in London are set to close over the Christmas period, causing disruption for people leaving the capital to visit loved ones.

London Paddington will be shut between Christmas Eve and December 27, meaning no mainline trains will serve Heathrow Airport during those days.

The station is closing due to HS2 engineering works. Bosses say this will affect journeys to and from South Wales, Bristol, the West Country.

London King's Cross will be closed all day on Christmas Eve, which will significantly affect journeys on the East Coast Main Line between London and Edinburgh, Leeds, Newcastle, York, Peterborough and many other locations.

London Victoria station will have no Southeastern services between Saturday, December 23 and New Year’s Day. Southeastern trains will instead use alternative London terminal stations.

No National Rail to and from Central London will run through Heathrow Airport between Christmas Eve and December 27.

However, the Elizabeth Line will run between Ealing Broadway and Heathrow Airport on December 24 and 27 only. The Heathrow Express will also not operate at all on any of those days.

As usual, there will be no Tube, Bus, DLR, Overground or Elizabeth Line services on Christmas Day, and the Elizabeth line will also be closed on Boxing Day.

Network Rail has advised travellers to check ahead online before they travel. As well as planned engineering works.

It said "a shortage of train crew, residual disruption following the recent severe weather and increased passenger volumes as people travel for Christmas" are all contributing to delays.

Large crowds at St Pancras International station following an 'unexpected strike' at the Eurotunnel. Credit: PA

"Service on most routes concludes earlier than normal, and no trains will be running on Christmas Day," the railway infrastructure body added.

The disruption comes after an unexpected strike by Eurotunnel French site staff on Thursday led to widespread disruption at London St Pancras, with at least 30 Eurostar trains cancelled.

Services resumed on Friday morning, with the company promising to run six extra trains between Paris and London into the weekend – an extra two trains each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Vehicle-carrying train service Eurotunnel said it is running its usual timetable but is only accepting customers who have pre-booked.

In response to the suspension, the M20 coastbound carriageway between Junctions 8 and 9 has been temporarily closed as an "emergency measure" to allow freight bound for the continent to queue on the empty section of motorway.

Road congestion was expected to peak on Friday – for many the last working day before Christmas Day – with motorists advised to travel before 11am or after 6pm to avoid being stuck in long queues.

The RAC estimated 13.5 million leisure journeys by car would take place across the UK between Friday and Sunday, up 20% on the three days before Christmas Day last year.

Travel disruption in the capital is expected to continue in the New Year, with London Underground staff set to stage a week of rolling strikes in January in a dispute over pay.

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