Thousands of people planning to travel by ScotRail on Boxing Day are being forced to make alternative plans as a rail strike means no services will run.
Hundreds of departures usually run on December 26 after the Christmas Day shutdown.
However, Network Rail workers who are members of the RMT union are striking in the coming days and while the dispute over pay does not involve ScotRail staff, it will have a knock on effect on rail services.
ScotRail services began to wind down at 3pm on December 24 ahead of the strike action which began at 6pm.
RMT members will continue the strike action until 6am on Tuesday, December 27.
- Christmas Day – ScotRail does not operate services on Christmas Day.
- Boxing Day – No services will operate due to use of contingent Network Rail staff and the prioritisation of critical engineering works. ScotRail normally operates a reduced service across the Strathclyde region.
- Tuesday, December 27 – A later start-up of services. Most services on that day will start around 8am, but in some parts of the country, such as Stirling, there will be no trains running until 5pm. This is due to the shift start times of Network Rail signallers.
- New Year’s Eve – services will stop earlier than normal for usual Hogmanay closedown.
Services are due to operate as per the normal timetable between Wednesday, December 28 and Friday, December 30.
Passengers were warned about the impact of the strike a week ago, and ScotRail urged rail users to check their journeys before travelling.
The operator ran its first Boxing Day trains between Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High in 2021.
The lack of trains means more people will travel by road on Monday.
Coach operators National Express and Megabus have experienced strong demand.
The AA expects 15.2 million cars on UK roads on Boxing Day.
David Simpson, ScotRail service delivery director, said: “We’re reminding customers that ScotRail services will be disrupted by over the Christmas period as a result of the dispute between Network Rail and the RMT.
“Services will be stopping earlier than usual on Christmas Eve, there will be no services on Boxing Day, and the first trains will start later than normal on Tuesday, December 27.
“We know this is really frustrating for everyone impacted and we’re urging customers to plan ahead and check their entire journey in advance.”
Avanti West Coast is also strongly urging customers to travel only if absolutely necessary and to check their journey during the festive period.
Barry Milsom, executive director of operations and safety at Avanti West Coast, said: “We’re urging our customers to plan ahead and check before they travel if making a journey on our West Coast route between December 24 and January 2.”
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The union remains available for talks to resolve this dispute.
“But until the government gives the rail industry a mandate to come to a negotiated settlement on job security, pay and conditions of work, our industrial campaign will continue into the new year, if necessary.”
Liam Sumpter, route director for Network Rail Scotland, said: “We understand the frustration and inconvenience this latest round of strike action will cause for our customers.
“We are sorry for the disruption passengers will face throughout the festive period and would urge those who need to travel to plan their journey and check what services are running in advance.
“We remain committed to working with the RMT to find a solution to this dispute, but we also need to agree a deal that is fair on the taxpayers who fund our railway.”
The RMT union, however, has announced further plans for four days of strike action early in the new year, starting on January 3.