Fury over festive rail shutdown as next to no trains to run on Boxing Day

Rail passengers will be properly stuffed this Christmas, with next to no trains on Boxing Day.

Ministers were accused of betrayal after it emerged only five out of 30 ­operators will be running on December 26 – and not a single train will move outside the South East.

More than 330 rail projects are planned between December 22 and January 3, sparking timetable changes.

And strikes will again hit Northern Rail and South Western passengers as workers stage walkouts next Saturday in a long-running dispute over guards.

Ministers had promised more trains to serve football fixtures, including nine Premier League matches, plus eight race meetings and Boxing Day sales.

Labour MP John Grogan, who has tabled an Early Day Commons Motion blasting the shutdown, said: “It really is ridiculous that people can’t get around on Boxing Day to sporting events, see family and spend money in the shops.

“Regular services in the rest of Europe run throughout the Christmas holidays and it is really disappointing that we cannot get the same commitment in this country, despite all the promises.”

Northern Rail was meant to run at least 60 trains, which was written into its agreement with the Government.

Chiltern Railway, Southern and the Stansted Express will run limited services, with Southeastern operating on the high-speed line between London St Pancras and Ashford in Kent.

Transpennine Express had been required to consult passengers about Boxing Day trains but decided against introducing them. Merseyrail ran a service last year but will not this time.

But there was better news for ­Britain’s 32 million drivers as Highways England said it would halt more than 200 miles of roadworks to ease festive journeys.

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