Brits hoping to visit loved ones by train this Christmas will be forced to stay at home, saving hundreds of pounds in rail fares, as unions announce 27 days of strike action in December.
The Rail, Maritime and Transportation ( RTM ) union said its staff at South Western Railway ( SWR ) had been left with “no choice” but to take industrial action.
RTM general secretary Bob Towpath said the dispute would continue for as long as Love Actually, Elf, and the Santa Clause were on TV or until SWR gave assurances that guards could continue to lean out of the window to open the doors like they did back in 1952.
Passengers responded angrily to news of the strikes until they realised how much money they’d save by staying in the comfort of their own homes or sitting in a traffic jam during the festive period.
“I had planned to start my Christmas with a fourteen-hour journey from London to Exeter, wedged in the quiet carriage toilet with two students and Jeremy Corbyn,” says inconvenienced passenger George Fishlove.
“But now I guess I’ll have to stay at home, although with the thirteen hundred quid I’ve saved by not forking out for an advance return train ticket, I could just get an Uber to Exeter and back I suppose.”
Sally Morris had hoped to spend Boxing Day arguing about Brexit with her father in law in Portsmouth but says she has been left with no choice but to spend Christmas in Gran Canaria.
She told us: “Well we’d already remortgaged the house to pay for our train tickets, so it seemed silly not to take the family away for Christmas.
“To be honest, I’ve saved over £500, and we’ve got two weeks all inclusive in a five star hotel.”