RAIL passengers are being asked to plan ahead and check before they travel this festive period as Network Rail completes its annual planned railway upgrades.

In Wales, overhead line equipment maintenance will be taking place within the Severn Tunnel overnight on Saturday, December 30 when trains aren’t running and until 2pm on Sunday, December 31.

Trains to and from London Paddington will be diverted on Sunday until the tunnel reopens in the afternoon and there will be a rail replacement service operating between Bristol Parkway and Newport, and between Cardiff and Bristol Temple Meads.

A rail replacement service will also be in operation between Cardiff and Ebbw Vale Town throughout the morning on Sunday 31 December as maintenance work takes place in the Ebbw Vale area.

On Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 December, the line between Crewe and Shrewsbury will be shut while repairs to a railway bridge are carried out.

Network Rail teams on the Western and Wales and Borders routes will be using 24 specialist engineering trains over the festive period across multiple work sites to deliver critical upgrades that will enhance performance, improve reliability and renew assets.

Michelle Handforth, managing director, Wales & Western, Network Rail, said: “Our festive upgrades are crucial to ensuring the railway continues to run reliably and safely.

“Our continued investment into upgrading and improving the railway is evidence of our commitment to providing a railway fit for the 21st century.

“There is never a good time to disrupt services but, when we do need to, we always look to do it at a time when there are fewest people travelling. With no trains on Christmas Day or Boxing Day, choosing to undertake the majority of our work on those days clearly makes sense overall.

“We thank passengers in advance for their patience and urge them to check before they travel."

Marie Daly, chief customer and culture officer at Transport for Wales, said: “We’ll be working hard to keep people moving across the Wales and Borders network during the busy Christmas and New Year period.

“It is important customers plan their journeys carefully and check for the latest information using our award-winning mobile app or website before travelling, as services may be subject to short-notice changes.”