Christmas travel getaway: rail passengers urged to check before they travel

15 December 2023

People are being encouraged to check before they travel this Christmas as a new survey finds one in 10 train passengers plan to travel on days when very limited or no train services are running.

Independent watchdog, Transport Focus, spoke to 2000 people to understand how they intended to travel and which days would be busiest over festive period.

The survey highlights how some people are unaware that no services will run on Christmas Day and how limited train services are on Boxing Day. Seven per cent of people planning to travel by train say they intend to do this on Christmas Day, when there is no service, while 13 per cent say they will travel by train on Boxing Day, when the service is very limited.

Friday 22 December looks to be the most popular for train travel, with 27 per cent of people saying they will travel that day.

Around half of people intending to travel by train over the festive period say they are reluctant to do so because of the risk of strikes or because of engineering work.

Transport Focus chief executive Alex Robertson, said:

“Over the festive period passengers should check carefully to see if their train is running. Our latest research shows some people remain unaware that no services will run on Christmas Day and a very limited service on Boxing Day.

“The Christmas period looks to be busy for passengers so they should plan ahead and check their journey details before setting off.”

The majority of those planning a getaway this year intend to travel by road (four in 10), a fifth are using the bus and 16 per cent are using the train​. Journeys on the motorways and major ‘A’ roads are likely to be spread relatively evenly throughout the festive period, though 23, 26 and 27 December are the most popular days for travel on the roads.

Passengers should look to see if their train is running through their train operator or National Rail Enquiries, reserve a seat if they are making a long-distance journey and claim Delay Repay compensation if they are delayed. Road users should check travel alerts and check their vehicle before they set off.

Notes to editors

Download report: Christmas and New Year travel intentions survey

In the survey Transport Focus asked a representative sample of 2020 people from across Great Britain about their travel intentions over the upcoming festive period.

For further information contact the press office on 0300 123 2170.

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