Biggleswade commuters could face Christmas chaos as more rail strikes planned

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Only travel if absolutely necessary, warns railway company

Biggleswade commuters could face Christmas chaos this December, as more rail strikes take place.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which runs Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink trains, is warning passengers to travel only if absolutely necessary due to strikes on December 13, 14, 17 and 16 – and further action is planned over the festive period.

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Meanwhile, there will be far fewer trains than usual and - south of the capital - mostly on major routes only, meaning some stations won’t have any services at all.

Rail strikes. Image Govia Thameslink Railway.Rail strikes. Image Govia Thameslink Railway.
Rail strikes. Image Govia Thameslink Railway.

Services will start later each day and finish much earlier than normal (from 7.30am to 4.30/6.30pm). Additionally, services will also start later on the day in between each 48-hour strike, on December 15 and the day after, Sunday, December 18.

Although train operator staff are also taking action, striking signallers at Network Rail have the greatest impact on the service.

A Network Rail spokesman said: "First and last trains will be particularly busy. If passengers absolutely have to travel, they should consider going later or returning earlier if possible, especially as no alternative transport can be made available. School children and students returning from university in particular should plan ahead and check online at National Rail Enquiries where updated train times will be available from December 9."

When will strikes be taking place?

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December 18 to January 2: a national train company overtime ban by RMT union members. More information will be available in the coming days but trains may be subject to change and cancellation on the day.

December 24 - 27: a strike by RMT union members at Network Rail. Services are likely to be severely impacted on December 24 and 27, when trains would normally run (there are no trains on Christmas Day and Boxing Day).

January 3 and 4 and 6 and 7: national strike by RMT members at Network Rail and train companies. As with the service on December 13 and 14 and 16 and 17, there will be far fewer trains, starting much later and finishing much earlier each day. Passengers are advised to travel only if absolutely necessary in this period.

Online journey planners will be updated for this further industrial action when details of the impact have been worked out. Passengers should double-check their journey each day before setting off, including the return journey.