Christmas Eve Train strikes latest updates: Christmas travel disruption as RAC tells drivers ‘avoid roads until 7pm’


Passengers were expected to face “two-hour queues” at Gatwick amid the strikes, the airport manager says

Britons have been warned of train disruptions ahead of a strike tomorrow as millions embark on their Christmas getaways, with motorists told to avoid the roads until 7pm.

The RAC, which expects to make 7.9 million leisure journeys across the UK between Friday and Christmas Eve, has issued an alert for a stretch of the M25.

December 23rd is usually the busiest day for rail passengers before the Christmas holiday, and December 27th is the busiest for post-Christmas travel.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union will tomorrow take another industrial action over pay and conditions, in an ongoing row.

Earlier, another union warned that the strike by Border Force workers could last for six months as they planned the first of several days.

Public Service and Commercial (PCS) union general secretary Mark Serwotka called on ministers to “come around the bargaining table” and make a better pay offer.

“Our strike mandate lasts until May,” he told the BBC early this morning. “We will support this action until May and we would vote again if necessary.”

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Scotrail is warning passengers of disruptions over the Christmas period due to strikes

Strike action starting on Christmas Eve will severely curtail train services, with people advised to travel only “if absolutely necessary”, Scotland’s rail operator has warned.

In the latest round of RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport) union strikes, thousands of members are on strike over an ongoing pay dispute.

The strike will start at 18:00 on Christmas Eve, and services will end earlier than usual from 15:00 – much earlier than usual.

There will be no trains running over Christmas or Boxing Day, and services are expected to resume no later than December 27.

David Simpson, ScotRail Service Delivery Director, said: “We are reminding customers that ScotRail services will be disrupted over Christmas due to the dispute between Network Rail and the RMT.

“Services will stop earlier than usual on Christmas Eve, there will be no service on Boxing Day, and the first trains will start later than usual on Tuesday 27 December.

“We know this is really frustrating for everyone affected and we urge customers to plan ahead and check their entire journey in advance.”

Avanti West Coast also strongly urges customers to travel only if absolutely necessary and to check travel during the festive period.

The last train from Glasgow to London departs at 10:40 on 24 December.

Barry Milsom, Avanti West Coast’s executive director of operations and safety, said: “There will be changes over the festive period due to planned improvement works to our services, as well as strike action by RMT members at Network Rail.

“As a result, our last trains will leave earlier on Christmas Eve and services will start later on December 27, so the advice to customers is to only travel on those days if absolutely necessary.

“In addition, we will make a modified timetable and some journeys will involve a change or replacement of trains.

“We urge our customers to plan ahead and check before traveling if you are traveling on our West Coast route between December 24 and January 2.”

The RMT has also announced plans for four days of strike action at the start of the new year, starting on 3 January.

Maryam Zakir-HussainDecember 24, 2022 08:25

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All UK strike dates have been confirmed for January 2023

Peony HirwaniDecember 24, 2022 07:30

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The consequences of these strikes

The effects of these strikes are well established, with similar walkouts affecting British travelers in the summer and early fall; Industrial action at 5,000 train signals will mean half of the rail network is closed, with much reduced service on the rest.

Peony HirwaniDecember 24, 2022 06:30

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Outgoing RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch

“We feel we have been forced to take this action because of the government’s intransigence,” said Mr Mich Lynch.

“We have been faced with a very harmful offer and our members are not in a position to accept the changes that the companies have put on the table.”

Peony HirwaniDecember 24, 2022 05:30

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Which train company workers voted for the strike?

ASLEF, which represents 96% of train drivers in England, Scotland and Wales, announced that workers at 15 companies, including Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway and Great Western Railway, had voted to strike.

Peony HirwaniDecember 24, 2022 04:30

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When is the next train strike scheduled?

The RMT union has revealed that more than 40,000 Network Rail staff and 14 train companies will stage 48-hour walkouts.

The industrial action will take place at the key time of Christmas, members from 18:00 on December 24 until 7:00 on December 27. However, most trains do not run on December 25th and 26th, but will affect those planning to travel by train to see relatives either side of Christmas Day.

Further departures will then take place on January 3, 4, 6 and 7, 2023.

Peony HirwaniDecember 24, 2022 03:30

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If you break the tip

The National Highways Agency has issued advice for anyone who gets into trouble on a highway: keep to the left.

If there is a problem with your vehicle, or if you are in trouble on a motorway, stay calm and try to exit at the next junction or motorway service station. If this is not possible:

  1. Place the indicators on the left.
  2. Go to the left lane.
  3. Enter the next emergency area, or hard shoulder.
  4. Put on your hazard lights.
  5. Place behind a safety barrier where there is one – keep away from traffic.
  6. Call National Highways 0300 123 5000then fault provider for assistance.

Sam RkainaDecember 23, 2022 6:33 p.m

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AA list roads with problems tonight

  • Close to M1 Toddington Services
  • A12 and A120 to Colchester
  • M3/A303 junction at Basingstoke
  • From the M4 including Hambrook and Newport in West Wales
  • M5 at Exeter
  • M6 in Walsall
  • M11 close to Stanstead Airport
  • M42 in Solihull
  • M55 floods
  • M60 near Eccles
  • M90 Queensferry in Scotland

Sam RkainaDecember 23, 2022 5:12 p.m

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The AA has warned that Christmas congestion is increasing

A number of popular routes have been affected by traffic jams today, including collisions with the M1 and M25 partially closed due to flooding.

The AA has had 9,000 breakdowns to date, with more expected as the last of the nation’s office-based staff head home or further afield.

AA RoadWatch is reporting problems on the network including the M1 near Toddington Services, the A12 and A120 to Colchester and the M11 near Stansted Airport.

Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “The wet weather has played a role in adding to the already congested roads due to rail strikes. The rain has also led to more breakdowns, such as potholes, as potholes tend to hide potholes.

“Our five-star patrols are working tirelessly to rescue drivers and get them back on the road. Some of these breakdowns could have been avoided by drivers carrying out essential checks before leaving.”

Alice MurphyDecember 23, 2022 4:22 p.m

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ICYMI: All confirmed train strike dates for January 2023

Train drivers’ union ASLEF has announced that its members will go on strike over pay on Thursday 5 January 2023, joining RMT members in industrial action in the first week of the new year and leaving rail commuters stranded for five days in a row.

ASLEF, which represents 96% of train drivers in England, Scotland and Wales, announced that workers at 15 companies, including Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway and Great Western Railway, had voted to strike.

My colleague Joe Sommerlad has more below:

Matt MathersDecember 23, 2022 4:00 p.m

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