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Brits told to ‘expect disruption’ with New Years travel chaos warning | UK | Travel

Rail operators have told revellers they should travel as early as Friday, December 29, to fulfil their plans for the New Year as significant disruptions are likely this weekend.

Northern Rail has said passengers planning to use its services to travel ahead of the big day should “expect disruption”, and made tickets booked for Sunday valid for Friday, December 29.

Services may finish early, not run at all, or terminate at different stations on New Year’s Eve, just days after Storm Gerrit caused widespread chaos on the UK’s rail networks.

Like Gerrit, traffic prompted by the coming celebration will also choke up multiple networks.

Chiltern Railways, which operates journeys between London and Birmingham, has told people when the most disruption is likely to take place.

The network said that a shortage of train crew would create a “high risk of short-notice cancellations and disruption” on New Year’s Eve.

They warned customers that disruption is likely to continue until after midnight when services are “not expected” to be affected by staff shortages.

Tricia Williams, the chief operating officer of Northern Rail, said planned engineering works would disrupt its lines.

She said their customers should expect disruption due to limited train crew availability in “some areas” due to the works.

The network has “strongly advised” customers to “check before you travel” on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

CrossCountry issued a similar warning, stating that trains would be “extremely busy” and “may be subject to last-minute cancellations”.

The warnings have caused outrage among UK officials, with MPs and mayors shocked that operators were facing service issues.

Andy Street, Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands, called on rail firms to “come clean now”.

He added that last-minute changes were the “worst possible thing”, and called on operators to provide more notice.

The disruption follows chaos caused by Storm Gerrit, which made landfall on Boxing Day and caused lasting, widespread delays across the UK.

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