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Boxing Day bargain-hunters warned of traffic jams amid rail strike


hoppers hoping for a Boxing Day bargain could face traffic jams as rail strikes see train services brought to a halt.

Thousands of people planning to travel by train have been forced to make alternative plans amid continued industrial action.

Hundreds of departures usually run on December 26 after the Christmas Day shutdown but Network Rail said Britain’s railways will remain closed for a second consecutive day due to a walkout by employees from the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT).

The AA said it expects 15.2 million cars on UK roads on Boxing Day, with shoppers and football fans among those likely to travel.

A spokesman said: “Traffic is likely to build around shopping centres as lots of people seek a bargain in the sales, meanwhile football fans will travel to see their teams.

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“There is scope for localised traffic congestion and more short trips, but traffic should be dispersed throughout the day as people take their time after Christmas Day.”

Airport transfers such as the Heathrow Express and Stansted Express are usually among the most popular services on Boxing Day, but airline passengers will be forced to find other ways of getting to and from Britain’s airports due to the industrial action.

Both the London Overground and Elizabeth Line are both closed, Transport for London said.

The District and Bakerloo lines are both experiencing part closures due to the national rail strike.

Southern will not be running, while services such as Merseyrail and ScotRail, which usually offer services, are cancelled. There also no services running via Thameslink.

Northern operated a service between Liverpool Lime Street and St Helens Central on Boxing Day last year.

Coach operators National Express and Megabus have experienced strong demand.

New data has predicted that shoppers will spend four per cent less this Boxing Day and during the post-Christmas sales due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Research by Barclaycard Payments found that the average shopper intends to buy £229 worth of items in the post-Christmas sales period, a reduction of £18 compared with 2021.

Passengers were warned about the impact of the rail strike a week ago – and heeded warnings appeared to lead to relatively smooth travel for most people on Christmas Eve when services finished up early.

The RAC highlighted two stretches of the M25 as likely hotspots for queues.

They are from junction 7 to 16 clockwise, and from junction 4 to 1 anti-clockwise.

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