Rail strikes: Christmas Eve passenger trains finish by 3pm, Network Rail says

Network Rail has warned that Christmas Eve commuter trains will end by 3pm due to strikes, with the last long-distance flights between several major cities leaving in the morning.

The last train from Edinburgh to London will leave at 8 am, and from Manchester to London at 12.15 pm. The last trains in either case between Manchester and Liverpool will depart at around 2pm. No trains will connect the capital with Nottingham or Sheffield on Christmas Eve.

Full timetables for the last trains before Christmas will be published on Tuesday, but railway bosses said it was clear that schedules would be hit hard, although the RMT union said it was not targeting holiday commuters in its upcoming strike.

Northern Rail advised passengers not to travel on 24 or 27 December due to the strike.

Thousands of workers, including key signaling staff, will not sign off on shifts between 6pm on 24 December and 6am on 27 December, when Network Rail planned £120m of engineering work.

Traditionally, no trains run on Christmas Day, and only exceptional services run on Boxing Day. Everyone who was due to run, including Eurostar, Merseyrail and Stansted Express, have now canceled their trains for December 26.

Advance tickets for December 24th can be used online in the previous three days or until December 29th. Long-haul travelers can also cancel and rebook without a fee, in an effort to guarantee a seat.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: “RMT’s suggestions that their planned strike over the festive period not target Christmas would be laughable if the consequences were not so traumatic for so many people, including on Christmas Eve.

“The RMT is causing needless misery to its members, to the railways and to the economy of the country. I am very sorry that our passengers have had to bear the brunt of the needless RMT strike when a fair offer is on the table and when only a third of the workforce refuses it.

“Our offer guarantees jobs and gives everyone a decent pay rise of 9% and more. Two of our three trade unions have already accepted and RMT needs to think again.”

RMT declined to comment.

Network Rail said the 6pm start by the RMT meant passenger trains would be back at depots by then, while engineering trains would have to be moved into place earlier than usual.

She said the strike, compounded by strikes that fell short of a strike or a ban on overtime on train operators, meant some services could not run at all on Christmas Eve.

English train operators, who are contracted directly to the Department for Transport, have to negotiate payment deals separately from Network Rail and appear to be far from a solution, after the first official offer was flatly rejected by RMT.

Unions have accused the government of sabotaging the deal by introducing controversial clauses requiring driver-only employment, and continue to support overtime bans on trains that Network Rail has dropped.

Chiltern and Southwestern, two of the operators hardest hit by the overtime ban, which began on Sunday, have scaled back their schedules and are working shorter hours and routes.

Services that are still running have been severely affected and delayed. According to Bloomberg, only one train arrived at London Marylebone station, which is served by Chiltern, before 10am on Monday, and 38 at Waterloo, London’s South Western hub, compared to 120 last Wednesday – a day also disrupted by the previous day’s strikes. . .

Elsewhere, Northern warned commuters to expect disruption throughout the overtime ban through Jan. 2. West Midlands services will be reduced on some routes and London Northwestern trains will not run at all on December 28 and 29, when a TSSA union strike will also affect the operator.

Four more days of rail strikes are scheduled to begin on January 3. No further talks between employers and unions to resolve the long-running dispute over wages and terms have been scheduled.

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