Glasgow affected

Air and rail travellers facing festive disruption

Glasgow Airport
Glasgow Airport will be affected

Tens of thousands of air and rail travellers can expect major disruption over the festive period amid a wave of strikes across the UK.

The military and civil servants have been called in to help at Glasgow, Birmingham, Cardiff, Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester airports, as well as the port of Newhaven in East Sussex.

More than 250,000 passengers arriving at UK airports from today have been warned to expect delays due to strikes by around 1,000 Border Force staff who are members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union.

Rail workers, National Highways, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and Royal Mail employees are also due to take industrial action.

This follows two days of strikes by NHS staff, including nurses and ambulance workers.

Drivers are being warned to prepare for long queues as millions of people embark on journeys to spend Christmas with friends and family.

The AA said that today will be the busiest day on the roads this week, with an estimated 16.9 million journeys being made across the UK. A further 16.6 million journeys are expected to be made on Christmas Eve.

Congestion could be increased due to a strike by thousands of members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) at Network Rail causing train services to finish at around 3pm on Saturday.

The RAC said roads will be busiest on Friday – the last working day before Christmas – between 10am and 7pm.

Postal staff represented by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are due to walk out for their fifth day of December action, in a move which Royal Mail criticised as ‘a cynical attempt to hold Christmas to ransom’.

The company said it will be doing all it can to deliver Christmas mail, revealing that the industrial action has cost it £100 million.

RMT railway workers will stage another strike from 6pm on Christmas Eve, which could prevent people from making it home for Christmas.

Post-Christmas, strike dates have been set until 26 January, with industrial action taking place daily until 13 January as the schedule stands.

ScotRail customers are being reminded to plan their journey in advance over the Christmas period as services will be severely impacted by the latest round of strike action by RMT members of Network Rail. 

The dispute does not involve ScotRail staff, however, it will have a major impact on the train operator’s ability to provide services as the RMT planned action involves Network Rail staff in Scotland. 

The RMT union announced its members at Network Rail will take strike action from 6pm on Saturday, 24 December until 6am on Tuesday, 27 December across the Great Britain railway network resulting from a pay dispute with the track and infrastructure operator. 

This will result in the following impact on ScotRail services: 

  • Christmas Eve (Saturday, 24 December) – services will run as normal until around 1500 when they will begin to wind down to allow for critical engineering works. No train services will start after 1800 (except for the 1815 Cumbernauld – Motherwell) but some trains will still be in transit. 
  • Christmas Day (Sunday, 25 December) – ScotRail does not operate services on Christmas Day. 
  • Boxing Day (Monday, 26 December) – no services will operate due to use of contingent Network Rail staff and the prioritisation of critical engineering works. ScotRail normally operates a reduced service across the Strathclyde region. 
  • Tuesday, 27 December – a later start-up of services. Most services on that day will start around 0800, but in some parts of the country, such as Stirling, there will be no trains running until 1700. This is due to the shift start times of Network Rail signallers.
  • New Year’s Eve (Saturday, 31 December) – services will stop earlier than normal for usual Hogmanay closedown. 

Football supporters attending one of the matches on Christmas Eve are reminded that services will begin to wind down from 1500, so they should make sure they have planned their journey home in advance. 

Customers are advised to check the ScotRail app or visit scotrail.co.uk for the latest information before travelling. The train operator is currently updating its retail systems to reflect the impact of strike action. 

ScotRail’s normal timetable is due to operate between Wednesday, 28 December and Friday, 30 December. 

The routes, frequency of service, and times of the last trains from Christmas Eve until Monday, 2 January 2023, is available at scotrail.co.uk/christmas

The RMT has also announced plans for strike action on 3-4 and 6-7 January. At the moment, we’re working through our train plans for these dates, and will keep customers updated as soon as possible. 

David Simpson, ScotRail Service Delivery Director, said: “We’re reminding customers that ScotRail services will be disrupted by over the Christmas period as a result of the dispute between Network Rail and the RMT. 

“Services will be stopping earlier than usual on Christmas Eve, there will be no services on Boxing Day, and the first trains will start later than normal on Tuesday, 27 December. 

“We know this is really frustrating for everyone impacted and we’re urging customers to plan ahead and check their entire journey in advance.” 



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