Commuters warned over biggest ever halt to rail services next month

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Network Rail chief Mark Carne today warned London train passengers about the impact of the biggest ever closure of major parts of the network next month.

The threat of further industrial action across Southern Railway services from the beginning of August could add to the disruption.

More than half of Waterloo main line station will be closed from August 5 to 28, and there will be “significant disruption” to services including those using London Bridge, Charing Cross, Liverpool Street and Euston, particularly over the Bank Holiday weekend of August 26 to 28. South West Trains will lose 1,300 services a day during the Waterloo closure. 

The work schedule is so tight that if a train breaks down it could throw the whole timetable into chaos.

Mr Carne said: “Trains will be crowded and passengers must check before they travel. If we have a problem or a train failure it will make it much more difficult. It is important passengers understand it will be more difficult for them.” 

Special teams will be on standby to deal with train breakdowns and signal failures.

Network Rail is spending £133 million on next month’s work — mostly in and around London — which will be carried out by more than 17,000 engineers and track workers.

Major improvements are promised but rail chiefs admit it will be “tight” completing everything as people return from summer holidays.

Victoria station will be much busier than usual with commuters seeking alternative routes on Southern Railway during the worst of the disruption.

Southern is threatened by yet more industrial action. The result of a strike ballot will be known on Thursday.

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