Travelers bound to and from London's two busiest airports will be hit by closures of major rail links over the holiday period.

The Gatwick Express that usually takes people from London Victoria Station to the airport in 30 minutes will be shut from Christmas Eve until Jan. 4 for major engineering work.

Officials said Thursday that normal service would resume several hours before rush hour on that day when many people return to work following a break over Christmas and New Year.

The Heathrow Express which links central London to the city's biggest airport also faces a four-day closure after Christmas Eve for work projects.

Similar closures on Britain's rail network this time last year dragged on and caused misery for commuters on their return to work.