Southern canceled all trains to and from Victoria Station until mid-January, citing staff shortages linked to the pandemic as the reason.
This is in addition to the planned Christmas Eve-Jan. 4 closures for engineering and signaling upgrades.
No service from the South will stop at Victoria, Battersea Park, Clapham Junction or Wandsworth Common until January 10 as the company grapples with an increase in covid cases among rail workers.
Gatwick Express services will be completely suspended, with trains and crews being used to support southern services.
Victoria is one of the busiest train stations in the country, seeing millions of commuters arriving and leaving central London every week from destinations in South East England and the South Coast.
Southern advises passengers from East Croydon and Southern Borough stations to travel to Blackfriars and use the District Line underground to continue their journey into the West End.
To Clapham Junction there will be a limited service from West Croydon changing to Balham or to use the tram to Wimbledon and use the SW Railway trains (as long as passengers ensure their ticket is valid on the tram).
Other services will be reduced and may end sooner.
The disruption will go well in the second week of the New Year and appears to be causing inconvenience to residents of Croydon looking to return to their London workplace after the Christmas holidays.
“We know it will be difficult for our customers and we are very sorry about that,” South Govia operators said in a note released yesterday.
“This change is in response to a significant reduction in train staff, service planning, controllers and other critical staff availability, as the increase in coronavirus cases is forcing more staff to self-isolate. We understand how disappointing this news is and our colleagues are working to find the best possible solution. “
Govia claims to try to reduce unplanned cancellations (because expected cancellations at one of London’s larger terminuses are much more useful for passengers, obviously), to “provide greater certainty on which trains will run and which will not run so customers can plan their trips.”
They say closing Victoria is “the only option available”.
“Many trains from the South will remain on the detour, including to London Bridge,” they said.
And January 10 doesn’t seem like an immediate return to normal service, either. “The services will be gradually reintroduced from Monday, January 10,” Govia said.
Train timetables have been updated to www.nationalrail.co.uk
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