Trains to stop at 3pm as Christmas Eve strikes on road, rail and airports continue
Christmas travellers are being warned to only use trains if “absolutely necessary” while major roads are expected to be extremely busy.
Travellers are being warned to expect Christmas Eve chaos with trains due to stop running at 3pm and many places will have no service at all.
Strike action continues to affect transport today with Border Force workers also continuing their walkout at six UK airports.
Disruption was kept to a minimum at immigration desks on Friday after members of the Armed Forces stepped in to cover the strike.
But the strike by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union will continue every day for the rest of the year except December 27.
Network Rail said people should avoid using trains unless “absolutely necessary” due to ongoing strikes by the RMT union.
“Trains will be busier and finish at about 3pm, with last trains leaving much earlier and none at all in some places,” the rail owner added.
The knock-on effect is that congestion is expected on major roads as millions travel to see loved ones.
Motorways including the M25 around London and the M60 around Greater Manchester were both hit by gridlock last night, with wet weather worsening conditions.
The forecast for Saturday is better, though around 70 flood warnings and alerts remain in place across England.
It comes as unions signalled that there was no end in sight to strike action, with the Government refusing to budge as it grapples with disputes on pay and working conditions across an array of sectors.
PCS union general secretary Mark Serwotka predicted there would be a “huge escalation” in industrial action in January across the civil service unless ministers enter into negotiations.
Despite the lack of chaos in airports, he insisted that the strike action “had worked” as he claimed that travellers were simply being “waved through” and passports were not being properly checked.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was “sad and disappointed” about the disruption, but argued that the Government had acted “fairly and reasonably” on public pay.
Meanwhile, postal deliveries and driving lessons are set to continue to be disrupted by strikes in the days before Christmas.
Royal Mail, National Highways and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) employees all took action on Friday, with strikes continuing into Saturday as RMT staff, Abellio London bus workers and Environment Agency workers launch separate waves of action.
This follows two days of strikes by NHS staff, with thousands of nurses walking out on Tuesday and ambulance workers joining picket lines on Wednesday.
The early closure due to strike action means the last train departures on some long-distance routes will be before 1pm today.
Examples of last train times include 10.45am for Leeds to London, 11am for London to Edinburgh and 12.48pm for London to Manchester.
The AA is predicting that nearly 17 million cars will be on UK roads on Saturday, with the worst congestion expected around the middle of the day.
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