Great Britain

Cops should be called in to police social distancing on trains & stop Christmas travel chaos, rail unions demand

XMAS DASH

COPS should be roped in to control Christmas chaos on trains this year, a union has demanded.

Railway union bosses want police on-hand to ensure social distancing and other covid guidelines are met during the mad rush to get home this Christmas.

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It comes amid fears the five-day period of relaxed restrictions over the festive period could see Brits piling onto trains at an alarming rate as services are slashed on Christmas and Boxing Day.

Rail expert Christian Wolmar told The Telegraph: "If this is a national emergency then they should operate on Boxing day."

He added: "We don't have covid every year. If we are on war footing then we should treat it as such."

Ministers are being urged to put on more trains and scrap engineering works as fears mount over Chrstmas travel chaos.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is being told he must put on more trains as the nation heads home for the festive season over the five-day relaxation of coronavirus rules.

A Christmas travel tsar has been appointed in a bid to avoid transport chaos during the festive period.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy will scrutinise whether train, air and road networks are ready for millions of people making trips over the five-day window when coronavirus restrictions are eased.

He will be able to tell operators to change timetables and report to the Government about any problems he thinks will pop up.

Rail operators are particularly worried about December 27, sources told the Telegraph.

That date will have a watered-down timetable due to it falling on a Sunday, and is likely to be extremely busy as people return from seeing family on Christmas Day.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union has called for an urgent meeting with Sir Peter to discuss Christmas travel plans.

Mick Cash, general secretary, said: "We know this Government has a habit of operating on the hoof throughout this pandemic.

"We cannot allow Christmas travel plans to fall foul of that slapdash approach."

Grant Shapps says ‘people should make a choice about whether they travel at all over Christmas’

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