Travel chaos over Christmas

24 December 2010

Passengers will face travel chaos over the next few days as they try to get home for Christmas.

Three train operators - First Capital Connect, Chiltern and Merseyrail - cut their services by up to a quarter yesterday, and this is likely to continue today, according to the Association of Train operating Companies (ATOC).

An ATOC spokesperson added that the timetable changes were "tweaks" and that commuters would "barely notice anything", adding that the reduced service would try to clear the travel backlog due to bad weather.

This is on top of other train companies axing journeys home for Christmas because of snow.

Meanwhile, 18 million motorists hoping to get home for Christmas faced huge traffic jams and adverse driving conditions.

Temperatures could plunge to minus 18 tonight, with more snow forecast across northern England and Scotland, making driving conditions treacherous.

In addition, Londoners face Boxing Day Tube travel inertia as members of the train drivers' union Aslef will walk out in a row over pay, disabling London's travel network.

The strike will have an immobilising effect on shoppers planning to capitalise on the Boxing Day sales as well as families travelling to relatives for Christmas.

Mike Brown, London Underground managing director, says: "We will be running as many Tube services as possible on Boxing Day, as well as London's 700 bus routes and some river services."

He added: "We are also discussing with West End retailers how we can support more pedestrian VIP events in the near future, to encourage more shoppers to the West End."

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