TRAIN passengers are being warned to avoid travelling today, Christmas Eve, unless its ‘absolutely necessary’ as further walkouts are set to cause disruption.
Industrial action, including strike action and action short of strike, over December and January is expected to affect rail services from December 24 to January 8, 2023.
Network Rail said the Christmas Eve strike by its workers in a row over pay would have a severe impact on services.
Trains are expected to finish at around 3pm as RMT union members are due to begin industrial action at 6pm.
The industrial action at Network Rail, which maintains the UK's rail system, will continue until 6am on 27 December.
Network Rail said there would be ‘significantly reduced services across the rail network on Christmas Eve’.
Last trains on long-distance routes will depart much earlier, with some rail companies unable to run any services at all.
‘Only travel if absolutely necessary on Saturday 24 December,’ said Network Rail.
Train operator Great Western Railway ran a full timetable this week in the run-up to Christmas – but also warned travellers the network will shut early on Christmas Eve and significant disruption will return after the festive getaway because of industrial action.
GWR said services will start after midday on Tuesday, December 27, and a significantly reduced, revised timetable will operate.
Planned engineering work will also affect some routes. There may also be some short-notice changes or cancellations and customer should check before they travel, and travel earlier.
On strike days (January 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7) only an extremely reduced service will operate on a limited number of routes. Some parts of the GWR network will have no service at all.
Services will start later (7.30am) and all journeys must be completed by 6.30pm.
The day after the strikes (Sunday 8 January) will also be affected. Trains will start later and there could be short-notice cancellations and alterations.
‘Online journey planners are being updated with the latest timetable information, says the company.
For more detailed information, including when journey planners will be updated with the latest train times, visit https://www.gwr.com/strike
This comes as the latest strikes in the run-up to Christmas will see postal workers and Border Force staff also walking out.