Bedfordshire rail commuters warned to travel 'only if absolutely necessary' during first week of New Year
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Bedfordshire commuters are being warned to travel by train only if "absolutely necessary" during the first week of January.
Govia Thameslink Railway is urging passengers not to travel on January 3, 4, 6 and 7 due to strikes by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT). And there will be no trains at all on January 5 due to ASLEF drivers’ industrial action.
Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink commuters are also advised to check before they travel from now until Monday, January 2, due to a national RMT train companies overtime ban.
A Govia Thameslink Railway spokesman said: "Trains may be subject to change and cancellation on the day. Pre-planned engineering work continues to close Victoria with trains diverted to London Bridge. On New Year’s Eve the regular Saturday timetable will operate and Blackfriars will close towards midnight to help manage crowds watching the fireworks – please plan ahead and check last trains, as some will be before midnight."
On January 3 and 4, and January 6 and 7, many routes will be closed entirely south of London. Services start later each day and finish much earlier than normal (from 7.30am to 4.30/6.30pm, with last trains as early as 3.30pm on East Coast Main Line routes to/from London King’s Cross on Friday 6 January).
Gatwick Express will not run but Gatwick will be served by eight trains an hour in each direction by Southern and Thameslink. No trains will run between St Neots (south of Peterborough) and London (see editor’s notes) Services will resume after the previous day’s strikes at around 7.30am.
On January 7 and 8 there will be pre-planned engineering work. On Sunday, January 8, there will be a late start to services.
The spokesman added: "First and last trains on RMT strike days when they are running 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."
Angie Doll, chief operating officer at Govia Thameslink Railway said: “We’re really sorry for the disruption this ongoing RMT action will cause our customers. Services could also be subject to last-minute change on other days beforehand. On New Year’s Eve we’ll be running our regular Saturday timetable. We do have late night trains but it’s essential to check what’s running and your return journey before heading out. Vital engineering work is also closing much of the route north of London to Peterborough on Saturday and Sunday, January 7 and 8. Alternative travel advice is available online at nationalrail.co.uk.”
Daniel Mann, director of industry operations at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “No one wants to see these strikes go ahead, and we can only apologise to passengers and to the many businesses who will be hit by this unnecessary and damaging disruption. We would advise passengers to only travel if it is absolutely necessary. Passengers with tickets for between January 3 to 7 can use their ticket the day before the ticket date, or up to and including Tuesday, January 10.”
Revised train times can all be seen in online journey planners such as National Rail Enquiries. For details on tickets and compensation during this period please visit train company websites.