Ironically, ScotRail trains will be pretty much as badly affected as other operators even though pay disputes with its unions have been settled. Instead, the continuing disruption will be caused by disputes between the RMT rail union and track and signalling body Network Rail and 14 England-based train operators, with 15 of the latter also in dispute with train drivers union Aslef.
Shoppers, revellers and other festive travellers will have their travel options significantly curtailed on Christmas Eve due to an RMT Network Rail strike from 6pm on Saturday until 6am on Tuesday, December 27. ScotRail said its trains would wind down from 3pm, with the last direct main line services between Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street leaving at 3:45pm and ScotRail’s last departure being the 6:15pm from Cumbernauld to Motherwell.
On east coast operator LNER, the last Edinburgh-London train will leave at 8am, and 11am in the opposite direction. The final Avanti West Coast service from Glasgow to London will depart at 10:40am.
No trains will operate on Christmas Day as usual, with ScotRail’s normal Boxing Day services in and around Glasgow – which were last year extended to the Edinburgh-Glasgow main line – cancelled because of the RMT walkout. The strike will also delay the start of services on Tuesday until about 8am. However, in some areas such as Stirling, there will be no trains running until 5pm because of Network Rail signallers’ shift start times.
The New Year will bring with it another round of strikes, with the RMT calling stoppages at Network Rail and train operators, including LNER, Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry and TransPennine Express on January 3 and 4, as well as January 6 and 7 – bringing to 16 the number of full day strikes in the dispute. They are expected to again reduce services across Britain to a fraction of normal, which will only run until early evening.
In between those stoppages, Aslef has announced a sixth strike at England-based operators, including the same cross-Border firms, on Thursday, January 5.