Network Rail warns passengers to expect ‘significantly disrupted’ trips into New Year

Rail passengers have been warned to brace themselves for “significantly disrupted” travel into the New Year amid strikes continuing across the country

Passengers face further disruptions and delays as industrial unrest is set to continue in the new year. The Network Rail warning came as members of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) at CrossCountry staged a 24-hour strike from 9pm on Boxing Day as part of a long-running campaign for a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies, no unagreed changes to terms and conditions, and a pay increase which addresses the rising cost of living.

Network Rail have urged people to plan ahead and check before they depart as “industrial action means rail travel will be significantly disrupted throughout December and January”, from Tuesday 13 December until Sunday 8 January.

The 48-hour strike called by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) in a separate dispute over jobs, pay and conditions which began on Christmas Eve runs to Tuesday at 6am. Those travelling to see loved ones either side of Christmas Day by train may have been affected, including people who now want to travel by rail as the long weekend ends.

The TSSA has said walkouts be staff will severely aggect services on Cross Country routes, including: Edinburgh, Newcastle, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Bournemouth, Plymouth. Other staff are based at Cannon House in Birmingham and the Lampblock alongside Birmingham New Street station.

In a statement, TSSA Organising Director Nadine Rae said: “Our members at CrossCountry do not want to strike, especially over the Christmas holiday period, but they are sick and tired of being taken for granted.

“They deserve a pay rise to help manage the escalating cost of living, and they rightly demand job security. The company, like all the train operators under the control of the Department for Transport, need to face up to the fact that only serious offers which meet our aspirations will end this dispute.

“Rail workers are seeking basic fair treatment: not to be sacked from their jobs; a fair pay rise in the face of a cost-of-living-crisis; and no race to the bottom on terms and conditions. Make no mistake we will again see trains coming to a halt unless rail bosses and the government do the right thing for our members and our precious rail network which so many people rely on.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “After two years of virtual Christmases, the British public deserve better than to have their festive celebrations impacted by strikes.

“The Transport Secretary and Rail Minister have worked hard to facilitate a fair and reasonable offer, which two unions have accepted, and it is incredibly disappointing that some continue to strike. We urge them to step back, reconsider and get back round the table, so we can start 2023 by ending this damaging dispute.”