UK

Boxing Day Trains: Labour Accuse Government Of 'Standstill'

'The Tory hypocrisy on this issue is astounding.'

26/12/2016 09:20 GMT | Updated 26/12/2016 09:35 GMT

Travellers visiting relatives or hitting the Boxing Day sales will face a “standstill” on the railways due to a “lack of action” by the Government, Labour said. 

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald accused the Tories of “hypocrisy” for attacking Labour over the issue while in opposition but then not taking action in office.

Large parts of the country will be without a rail service on Boxing Day, while some operators will only be running a limited number of trains. 

Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters
Large parts of the country will be without a rail service on Boxing Day (file picture)
 

Mr McDonald told the Press Association: “Tory ministers’ handling of the Boxing Day rail standstill is making it much harder for families and friends to visit one another this Christmas break.

“In opposition the Tories attacked the Boxing Day rail shutdown. They’ve now had more than six years to do something about it but haven’t.

“Their lack of action, even despite the chaos of previous years, gives the impression they don’t really care about it at all. The Tory hypocrisy on this issue is astounding.”

Rail operators which are not running services on Boxing Day include Arriva Trains Wales, c2C, CrossCountry, East Midlands, Grand Central, Great Northern, Great Western, London Midland, Northern Rail, South West, Thameslink, TransPennine Express and Virgin.

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “Deciding the level of service on specific days is a matter for train operators. But we know some passengers want to travel on Boxing Day, and that’s why we have worked with the rail industry to ensure there are limited services on some franchises on that day, and that the scope for Boxing Day services is considered when we are planning future franchises.

“Network Rail and train companies have ensured that a large part of the railway will remain open over the Christmas/New Year period and alternative routes are provided where the lines are closed for essential engineering work, and that these are communicated properly to the public.”