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

Passengers expected to face ‘two hour queues’ at Gatwick amid strikes, says airport boss

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

The RAC, which expects 7.9 million leisure journeys to be made across the UK on Friday and Christmas Eve combined, published the alert for a stretch of the M25.

The 23rd of December is typically the busiest day for rail travellers ahead of the Christmas holiday, with 27 December the busiest for post-Christmas travel.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union are set to stage another round of industrial action tomorrow in an ongoing row over pay and conditions,

Earlier, a separate union warned that strikes by Border Force staff could last for up to six months as they staged the first of several days of action.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, urged ministers to “get around the negotiating table” and make a better pay offer.

“Our strike mandate lasts right up until May,” he told the BBC earlier this morning. “We will be supporting this action up to May and we would re-ballot again if we have to.”

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When is the next train strike planned?

The RMT union has revealed that more than 40,000 workers across Network Rail and 14 train operating companies will stage a series of 48-hour walk-outs.

Industrial action is due to take place over the key Christmas period, with members walking out from 6pm on 24 December until 7am on 27 December. Most trains do not run on 25 and 26 December anyway, but those aiming to travel by rail to see loved ones either side of Christmas Day will be affected.

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

Peony Hirwani24 December 2022 03:30

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Advice if you break down

National Highways has issued advice for anyone who gets into trouble on a motorway – go left.

If your vehicle has a problem, or you get into trouble on a motorway, stay calm and try to exit at the next junction or motorway service area. If that’s not possible:

  1. Put your left indicators on.
  2. Move into the left lane.
  3. Enter the next emergency area, or hard shoulder.
  4. Put your hazard lights on.
  5. Get behind a safety barrier where there is one – keep well away from moving traffic.
  6. Call National Highways on 0300 123 5000, then a breakdown provider for help.

Sam Rkaina23 December 2022 18:33

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AA list roads facing problems tonight

  • M1 near Toddington Services
  • A12 and A120 into Colchester
  • M3/A303 interchange in Basingstoke
  • Along the M4 including Hambrook and west of Newport in Wales
  • M5 in Exeter
  • M6 at Walsall
  • M11 near Stanstead Airport
  • M42 at Solihull
  • M55 flooding
  • M60 near Eccles
  • M90 Queensferry in Scotland

Sam Rkaina23 December 2022 17:12

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Christmas congestion increasing, AA warns

Several popular routes have been blighted with traffic jams today, including collisions on the M1 and the M25 partially closed due to flooding.

The AA has attended 9,000 breakdowns so far today, with more expected as the last of the nation’s office-based staff head for home, or further afield.

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

Edmund King, AA president, said: “The wet weather has played a role in adding to congestion on the roads, which were already busier due to the ongoing rail strikes. The rain has also led to more pothole breakdowns, such as punctures, as the puddles tend to hid the potholes.

“Our five-star patrols are working flat out to rescue drivers and get them back on their way. Some of these breakdowns could have been avoided by drivers carrying out essential checks before they venture out.”

Alice Murphy23 December 2022 16:22

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ICYMI: All the rail strike dates confirmed for January 2023

The ASLEF union of train drivers has announced that its members will strike over pay on Thursday 5 January 2023, joining their RMT counterparts in undertaking industrial action in the first week of the new year and leaving rail commuters stranded for five consecutive days.

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

My colleague Joe Sommerlad has more below:

Matt Mathers23 December 2022 16:00

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Watch: When are strike happening in

The UK is set to become inundated with strikes across multiple sectors as we ring in the new year.

Industrial action is planned for January by nurses, ambulance drivers, and rail workers over pay disputes with the government.

Commuters will be impacted by rail strikes by both the RMT union ASLEF union, with the health sector hit by action by the Unison union and the Royal College of Nursing.

This video outlines which strikes will be taking place in January, and when exactly we will be impacted by them.

When are strikes happening in January?

The UK is set to become inundated with strikes across multiple sectors as we ring in the new year. Industrial action is planned for January by nurses, ambulance drivers, and rail workers over pay disputes with the government. Commuters will be impacted by rail strikes by both the RMT union ASLEF union, with the health sector hit by action by the Unison union and the Royal College of Nursing. This video outlines which strikes will be taking place in January, and when exactly we will be impacted by them. Click here to sign up for our newsletters.

Matt Mathers23 December 2022 15:40

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Andy Burnham calls for London-style transport for Manchester

Andy Burnham said he wants a London-style integrated transport system for Greater Manchester as he announced the award of the first new bus franchises in the region.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester said discussions were on-going with government as part of a further deal on devolution, more powers transferred from Whitehall to regions, about integrating overland train services with bus, trams and bikes.

It would create a “tap in tap out” system for any of the 2.5 million people in the Greater Manchester region using public transport.

Matt Mathers23 December 2022 15:21

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Christmas Day snow warning for Scotland as rain lashes rest of Britain

A Christmas Day snow warning has been issued for large parts of Scotland, with up to 10cm forecast for higher ground as gale force winds bring the risk of drifting and blizzards.

Frequent blustery snow showers are likely to cause some travel disruption to higher routes, the Met Office said in a yellow weather warning on Friday.

My colleague Alastair Jamieson reports:

Matt Mathers23 December 2022 14:45

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Flooding on M25 causes 10-mile queue of traffic

Flooding on the M25 is ruining the Christmas getaway for thousands of people, as congestion worsens across the UK.

National Highways said a 10-mile queue built up due to the M25 being closed from junction 11 (Woking) to junction 12 (the M3) while standing water is cleared.

Two out of four lanes were later reopened.

Many drivers are battling a band of heavy rain which is moving north from southern England and Wales to southern Scotland and Northern Ireland throughout the day.

Junction four of the M20 westbound in Kent was closed for several hours on Friday morning after a serious crash on Thursday.

Vehicles were being diverted on to exit and entry slip roads, causing three miles of congestion and delays of at least 45 minutes.

The AA reported “severe congestion” on several motorway stretches on Friday, and said industrial action on the railways has added to the number of vehicles on the roads.

Matt Mathers23 December 2022 14:30

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‘Do not travel unless your journey is essential’

“Do not travel unless your journey is essential”: that is the warning from the rail industry to people hoping to catch a train on Christmas Eve, ahead of the next RMT national strike by Network Rail staff beginning at 6pm on 24 December, Simon Calder, our travel correspondent, reports.

On East Midlands Railways’ main line linking London with Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield, the last northbound train for four days will depart at 7.35pm this evening. A separate strike by members of the Unite union means all later trains are cancelled, along with the entire schedule on Christmas Eve.

Elsewhere, train operators are racing to get rolling stock and staff back to depots before the walk-out begins. Last trains from many locations are in the morning, with all services ending by mid-afternoon.

(Simon Calder)

The strike has wiped out all the limited Boxing Day services, including all 43 planned Eurostar services linking London with Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam.

When the RMT strike ends at 6am on Tuesday 27 December. Services will slowly resume, though key operators will continue to run a sharply reduced schedule. Last trains on South Western Railway from the UK’s busiest station, London Waterloo, are at around 9.30pm until the second week of January.

No trains will run at all to and from London Liverpool Street due to planned engineering works through to the New Year – when national rail strikes resume on 3 January.

Matt Mathers23 December 2022 14:15

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