TRAVELLERS in Devon wanting to get away for Christmas are being warned to make arrangements early. 

Great Western Railway is urging those hoping for a getaway to make sure they travel early. 

Planned engineering work means no trains will run between London Paddington and Reading on Sunday 24 December 24 and Wednesday December 27 and reservations for trains towards Devon and Cornwall on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 December are already almost sold out. 

No trains will operate to or from London Paddington station on Sunday 24 and Wednesday 27 December, as Network Rail begins work on the new HS2 station at Old Oak Common. 

Services are not scheduled to operate on Christmas Day or Boxing Day.

Anyone needing to travel on December 24 or 27 is advised to allow plenty of time to reach their destination as journey times will be significantly longer than normal. 

Services will also finish earlier than usual on Sunday December 24, and all journeys will need to be completed by approximately 2230.

Customers looking to travel on either of these days should consider travelling on alternative dates for a more comfortable journey. 

According to reservations data, trains between 1100 and 1500 on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 towards Devon and Cornwall are almost sold out, and those looking for a more comfortable journey are advised to travel before 0930. 

Joanna Grew, Network Rail’s Industry Programme Director, said: ‘Over the Christmas period, from Sunday 24 to Wednesday 27 December, we will be carrying out essential preparatory drainage and railway infrastructure works as part of the construction of HS2’s new station at Old Oak Common near London Paddington.  

‘As part of this preparation, we also need to close the railway into Paddington on Sunday 26 November where we will also be completing essential railway works between Slough and Paddington which will enable a more reliable railway.  

‘We appreciate there is never a good time to disrupt journeys but whenever possible we do this at times when fewer people are travelling, such as at Christmas, on bank holidays or at weekends.

‘We thank passengers in advance for their patience and urge them to please check before they travel.’