No weekend through trains from East Anglia to London could hit sales
- Credit: Archant
There are no through trains between East Anglia and London this weekend for bargain-hunting shoppers as Network Rail engineers carry out maintenance on the line between Shenfield and Stratford.
Trains will run as far as Ingatestone, from where there will be a bus link to Newbury Park station on the Central Line to allow passengers to continue their journey to London.
Journeys will take longer - but passengers have become used to the weekend bus shuttle over recent years and this Christmas disruption is much less than has been seen over the last few years.
That could make a day out bargain-hunting at the Westfield Centre at Stratford or in the West End rather problematic - although it could boost shopping centres like Chelmsford and Norwich which are still linked to the main-line network.
On New Year's Day there will be no trains through Colchester while track replacement work is completed - buses will operate from Ipswich, Manningtree and Colchester to Marks Tey for the journey to London.
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On other days over the rest of the Christmas holiday period there should be normal services - except for the cross-country line between Ipswich and Peterborough where through trains are suspended until early next year.
Greater Anglia is expected to test its new trains on the route to Peterborough in early January - and hopes to have them in service soon after that.
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Until then passengers from Ipswich to Peterborough will have to continue to travel via Cambridge or Norwich - or to catch a special bus link that has been running from Bury St Edmunds following the route of the cross-country link.
The main line engineering work should all be completed by Thursday, January 2, which will be the first day back at work after the Christmas/New Year break for many commuters which is also the day they will see many of their fares increase by an average of 2.7%.
This will see the cost of a season ticket from Ipswich to Liverpool Street increase by £188 to £6,944 while for a walk-up off-peak traveller the cost of a return trip to goes up by 80p to £44.70.
The January price rise does not affect many pre-booked unregulated tickets whose prices may change at different times of the year.