Simon Calder’s journey recommendation forward of Christmas strike motion

With the winter climate upon us, and rail strikes looming – are we heading for a journey nightmare earlier than Christmas? With 12 strike days over the festive interval, hundreds of thousands of journeys are more likely to be disrupted so our Journey man, Simon Calder, is right here that can assist you and your family members discover a method residence this Christmas.

What are my rights if climate wreck my journey plans?

Rail: You’ll be able to both get a refund in your ticket for a cancelled practice – or declare Delay Repay in case your practice is late (generally as little as quarter-hour adrift) 

Flights: Beneath European air passengers’ rights guidelines, travellers whose flights are cancelled or delayed are entitled to be flown to their vacation spot as quickly as attainable – and should be supplied with meals, and if crucial lodging, till they can journey. 

What day are the practice strikes this week?

  • Practice cancellations begin this afternoon forward of the following spherical of nationwide rail strikes Tuesday and Wednesday’s 48 hour strike. 

  • Thursday can be a “respite” day, although nonetheless with plenty of knock-on disruption.

  • Friday and Saturday see one other two days of business motion 

Does that imply no trains in any respect?

  • Practice operators could also be warning everybody to remain away, however on the similar time they’re working extra companies throughout the coming week than at any time since nationwide strikes started six months in the past. 

  • Nevertheless there can be no trains working in any respect to some main cities equivalent to Portsmouth, Swansea, Aberdeen, Inverness, Stoke-on-Trent and Lincoln.

Why are they putting once more?

  • There are a number of disputes involving completely different employers, together with Community Rail and 14 practice operators. 

  • The strikes have been referred to as by the RMT union in an extended and bitter dispute about pay, job safety and dealing preparations. 

  • Unions say any pay supply ought to mirror the rising value of residing, after rejecting a pay rise supply of 4% in 2022 and 2023 – tied to station ticket workplace closures and adjustments in who closes the doorways on trains.

What concerning the strikes later this month?

It is trying grim, with twelve days of Christmas and New Yr strikes, plus additional time bans (the place employees refuse to work additional time) 

  • One particular practice route is a selected nightmare: if you happen to miss the final Chiltern Railways practice tonight from London to Birmingham, you will have to attend 4 full weeks until the following one. That is as a result of strikes on 24-27 December and three/4 and 6/7 January be a part of forces with an additional time ban and festive engineering work already deliberate!

Will strikes have an effect on flights too?

  • twenty third December is the day after we’ll see what occurs at Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Cardiff airports when troops exchange Border Pressure officers of their roles at passport management.

Why are they putting?

  • Round 1,000 Public and Industrial Companies (PCS) union members together with individuals who work in passport management – are taking industrial motion after the Residence Workplace provided employees a 2% pay rise as a substitute of the ten% they requested.

When will we see the worst results?


  • Heathrow alone is a large headache for officers – 583 flights with 126,700 seats are scheduled to reach at Heathrow on 23 December. Whereas the precise variety of passengers can be decrease, as a result of not each seat can be crammed, the determine will concern these in search of to place mitigating measures in place. 

  • Christmas Day, as anticipated, would be the quietest of the strike days for Heathrow, with simply 83,400 passengers on 352 flights. However Heathrow returns to full stretch from 28-30 December, with round 125,000 passengers on 575 flights every day. 

Gatwick and Glasgow

  • Arrival numbers are highest on the 2 Fridays within the strike calendar, 23 and 30 December. Gatwick expects over 60,000 arrivals on 325 flights, whereas Glasgow anticipates greater than 10,000 passengers touching down aboard 85 planes. 

Manchester airport

  • The place bosses are already warning that some flights can be cancelled, the height is predicted on Boxing Day: 37,000 passengers on 191 flights. However every single day aside from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day can be extraordinarily busy. 


  • The important thing dates are 23 and 31 December, with over 16,000 arrivals, however 27, 29 and 30 December are additionally anticipated to see greater than 15,000 passengers touching down. 


Find out how to get residence this Christmas 

When can I journey on the trains? and which routes are greatest?

Even on strike days, the foremost intercity routes are nonetheless working between round 7.30am and 6.30pm. So you may journey from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Leicester, Norwich, Cardiff, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton, Brighton to London, with busy suburban networks round London, Liverpool, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh additionally least affected. Rural and native companies will endure most.

The place am i able to test for essentially the most dependable data? 

Are coach operators choosing up the slack? 

  • They’re filling up quick – for instance on Tuesday from Portsmouth to London, the primary 5 Nationwide Categorical coaches are full. Including additional companies is tough as a result of drivers and their coaches are already stretched. 

Any recommendation for highway customers? 

RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis stated: Individuals who usually depend upon getting away by practice on Christmas Eve will endure essentially the most because of the newest strikes introduced.

Except they’ve easy accessibility to a different type of transport their festive plans can be properly and really scuppered. The automotive is the pure different and because of this we’re very more likely to see a rise in visitors on Christmas Eve.”

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