Network Rail tells travellers to avoid trains until January 9

More disruption awaits in the New Year as pay disputes remain unresolved

Maryam Zakir-Hussain,Simon Calder
Sunday 25 December 2022 08:45 GMT
When are strikes happening in January?

Network Rail has warned travellers to avoid trains until 9 January as thousands of Britons scramble to get home on Christmas Eve.

In a tweet on Saturday afternoon, the organisation that runs the nation’s rail infrastructure advised passengers to “only travel by train if absolutely necessary” between 24 December to 8 January.

Strikes by the RMT and Aslef unions will affect 11 of the 16 days over Christmas and New Year, with overtime bans and planned engineering work hitting services on the remaining days.

Millions of people embarking on Christmas getaways face disruption from strikes and congestion (PA )

The Independent calculates that 250,000 trains will be cancelled between today and 8 January.

The warning is the latest blow to passengers as they hope to head home for Christmas.

In normal years, trains normally finish at mid-evening on Christmas Eve. But RMT union members working for Network Rail stop working at 6pm, and train operators are racing to get rolling stock and staff back to depots before the walkout begins.

Last trains from many locations are in the morning, with all services ending by mid-afternoon.

It comes as scores of commuters hoping to reach their destination in the Christmas getaway were watching the departures board at London’s Euston station for updates on their journey.

Hundreds of travellers were filing through the station’s main entrance on Christmas Eve to get the last trains out of the capital to avoid disruption caused by severe road traffic and severely delayed train services.

Services to Crewe, Manchester Piccadilly, Glasgow Central and Birmingham International were all delayed with a limited staff presence as travellers waited anxiously with their luggage.

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