February 7, 2023

Passengers still hoping to travel by train over Christmas have been warned to check timetables and leave early, with a strike stopping most services at 3pm on Saturday.

Thousands of members of the RMT union at Network Rail will strike from 6pm Christmas Eve to 6am December 27.

The last intercity trains on some long-distance routes would depart as early as 8 a.m. Some main routes will not run at all, partly due to ongoing industrial action, including an overtime ban on train operators.

The RMT had argued it was not targeting Christmas travel when it called the latest strike in the long-running pay and jobs dispute.

However, Network Rail said the timing of the action meant all passenger trains had to be in depots before the action started.

Emergency staff are being deployed to enable Network Rail to proceed with most of the £120 million worth of engineering work planned over the Christmas break. No passenger trains would ever run on Christmas Day. The few scheduled Boxing Day services on Eurostar, Merseyrail and Stansted Express have now been cancelled.

With major stations quiet for most of Friday, railway sources suggested many passengers had decided to travel earlier – while surveys for motorists indicated a third had opted to travel this year rather than take the train they normally would. select.

The last Christmas Eve trains from Edinburgh to London were due to depart at 8am. The last trains to Newcastle and Scotland depart at 11am and between Manchester and Liverpool at approximately 2pm.

There are no direct trains between London and Nottingham or Sheffield on the East Midlands Railway, which has urged passengers not to travel on its services on Saturday.

Further disruptions will continue beyond Christmas, with services starting later on December 27 due to the strike, and continued problems in the South Western, Chiltern, East Midlands and elsewhere due to the RMT overtime ban.

The TSSA union will also strike for 24 hours on Cross Country, GWR and West Midland trains on several days. Ongoing engineering work will also affect services, including on the West Coast line from London Euston and to London Liverpool Street.

There is no sign of a speedy resolution of the dispute. The RMT has accused ministers of being “missing” since meeting trade union and industry leaders nine days ago. The general secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “Until the government gives the rail industry a mandate to reach a negotiated settlement on job security, pay and working conditions, our industrial campaign will continue.”

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said ministers had “worked hard to allow for a fair and reasonable offer”, adding that the public “deserves better than their festive celebrations being affected by strikes”.

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