Planned rail strikes to cause Christmas holiday headaches

 

Hundreds of thousands of rail passengers face delays and cancellations over Christmas because of a series of strikes.

The pre-Christmas getaway, Boxing Day sales and sports fixtures over the festive season could all be hit as unions stage industrial action on the London Underground and around the UK.

Friday is expected to be the busiest travel day as millions finish work and attempt to reach family and friends for the holidays. But from one minute past midnight, CrossCountry train staff belonging to the RMT union have been instructed not to start any shifts until midnight on Saturday.

CrossCountry runs most long-distance services that do not start or end in London. The network is centred on Birmingham New Street, and connects the South and South-west with the Midlands, Yorkshire and North of England. Some services extend into Scotland.

Also on Friday, the first effects of a stoppage by ScotRail staff are expected to take effect. The RMT has called strikes for Saturday 22 December and Christmas Eve, but has instructed sleeper staff not to operate the services that depart from London and Scotland on Friday night as part of an ongoing row after the sacking of a ticket inspector, Scott Lewis, in March. Aslef also confirmed yesterday that Tube drivers will strike on Boxing Day over bank-holiday pay – the third 26 December walkout in a row. Boxing Day football matches in the capital are likely to be cancelled unless the strike is averted.

Last night, East Coast Main Line services were hit with "major" delays due to what operators called "overhead-wire problems". No trains were running between King's Cross and Peterborough.

CrossCountry, which is due to meet with RMT officials today for talks aimed at averting Friday's strike, said it was working on contingency plans that would ensure journeys could be completed if the action goes ahead. It advised passengers not to change their travel plans while talks continued.

The union accuses the train operator of harassing staff who fail to meet sales targets, disciplining train managers who do not work on Sundays, and trying to force out staff injured at work.

The general secretary, Bob Crow, said the RMT remained open to talks. RMT workers at two London signal boxes are also staging a 48-hour stoppage from tomorrow, while cleaners on Tyne and Wear are to hold a three-day strike over pay, starting on Sunday.

Off the rails: Networks affected

CrossCountry

Covers services connecting the South with the Midlands, Yorkshire and North, and extends into Scotland. Services could face delays.

ScotRail

Overnight services run from London to Fort William. Buses may be used but the journey could take 14 hours.

London Underground

Boxing Day strike would cause wide disruption.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
peopleHere's what Stephen Fry would say
News
i100
Sport
Serena Williams holds the Australian Open title
sportAustralia Open 2015 final report
Sport
footballLive: All the latest from today's Premier League matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Recruitment Genius: Transport Administrator / Planner

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Associate - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Law Costs - London City

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee