Man to miss aunt’s funeral as passengers left ‘in limbo’ by rail strikes

·3-min read

Frustrated travellers have said upcoming rail strikes will leave them “in limbo”, with one passenger who is set to miss a funeral saying the disruption “isn’t helping me agree with their cause”.

Planned strikes on Wednesday and Saturday promise to halt thousands of services across the UK as many people scramble to find alternative travel arrangements.

Kristian Melson, 30, is an operations manager living in West Lothian, Scotland, and had hoped to attend his aunt’s funeral on Thursday after she died on July 13 at the age of 76.

Mr Melson will now miss the service in Cambridge as Wednesday’s strikes disrupt later trains.

“I am really frustrated that there are more strikes after recent disruption,” he told the PA news agency.

Kristian Melson
Kristian Melson will miss his aunt’s funeral on Thursday because of the rail strikes (Kristian Melson/PA)

“I cannot see my family at such a tragic time.”

“Most people understand the reasons why (staff) want to strike, we have all felt the squeeze in our finances because of inflation… The strikes are highlighting the issues the rail workers are facing but the disruption is angering travellers.

“The strikes are stopping people going about their daily lives which isn’t helping me agree with their cause.”

Mr Melson is trying to reduce air travel to improve his carbon footprint but said flights were too expensive anyway.

“I moved to Scotland knowing that I was only ever four hours away by train,” he said.

“My family are all based in the South East so they can go together by car between them.

“They are sad I cannot attend and pay my respects.”

Olly Hawkins, 28, hopes to make two Newcastle United football matches before attending a wedding in London on Sunday, but said Saturday’s strikes are keeping him “in limbo” when it comes to his travel plans.

Rail and Tube strikes
Services up and down the country are affected (PA)

“I’m just frustrated,” the sports writer from Burton said.

“I don’t know if I am going to be able to make either football match I’ve paid for and don’t know how I’ll get to London, either.

“(It is) stressful and frustrating – it takes away from the enjoyment of both occasions I’ve been looking forward to for weeks.”

Mr Hawkins aims to catch a train to Newcastle from Burton for the pre-season friendlies on Friday and Saturday at St James’ Park.

But if his train to London on Saturday is cancelled, he will have to leave for London earlier and may lose up to £80 on train fares and wasted football tickets.

“I’ll make sure I won’t (miss the wedding), but to do that might mean not even travelling to Newcastle for either of the games, which would be a real shame,” he said.

“Also, the late notice means any alternate train I am forced to book instead will likely be far more expensive.

“It gives people very little time to make alternate plans.”

Only a fifth of services will run on Wednesday on around half of the network, so passengers are being urged to only travel by train if they must, and if it is necessary, allow extra time and check when their last train will depart.

Members of the drivers’ union Aslef will strike on Saturday in a number of companies.

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