Christmas travel chaos as strikes and roadworks set to disrupt journeys with only five train operators running on Boxing day

Not a single train is set to run in England outside the south east in what will spark fresh misery within a 12-day period of delays and cancelled services.

It appears that the government has quietly dropped its promises to offer more Boxing Day train services, The Times reports.

Of the five lines that are running, Chiltern Railway, Southern and the Stansted Express will operate very limited services.

Southeastern will operate trains on the high-speed line between London St Pancras and Ashford in Kent.Scotrail is also running a service on some routes from 9am.

But huge swathes of the country will be completely unserved, piling yet more pressure on the roads at a time when ice and snow can make driving both slow, and treacherous.

Next Friday, December 21, is set to be the busiest day of the year on the roads with 19million drivers making their getaway for Christmas.

While icy weather is likely to cause further delays and chaos on the roads, trains will suffer disruption that extends far beyond Boxing day.

At least 25,000 engineers are being drafted in to carry out upgrades from December 23 right up until January 2 as part of a £148million move, affecting all major London stations.

Network Rail has said that overall there will be less overall disruption than last year as most of the work has been scheduled for when no trains are planned to run, such as on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

But that won't reassure millions of passengers who find themselves struggling to get home.

Crossrail works at London Paddington station are likely to cause the biggest upset, with no train services at all between December 23-26 and heavily reduced timetables for the following week.

Northern Rail was supposed to introduce at least 60 Boxing day trains this year, in accordance with its franchise deal with the government – but has been let off due to engineering works.

While Transpennine Express has also decided against introducing Boxing Day trains – despite holding a consultation with passengers on whether to do so.

Strike action could also prove a further headache, with walkouts planned for train guards and pilots over the festive period.

Under RMT (Rail Maritime & Transport Union), train guards are set to strike on both Northern and South Western Railway on December 22 – the last shopping Saturday before Christmas.

While Virgin Atlantic pilots could affect those trying to leave the country altogether, with the first strike due to start on Saturday, December 22 until Christmas Day.

A second strike will run over New Year, from December 30 to January 2, while a third is due to start on January 4.

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