GWR releases data showing busiest trains in the run-up to Christmas
Train operator Great Western Railway has released data showing the busiest trains this Christmas, as it warns customers that ongoing industrial action means the network will shut early on Christmas Eve and significant disruption will return after the festive getaway.
Data from the number of seats already booked shows the 1204 Paddington to Penzance service is the most in-demand over the next few days. Friday 23 December is generally the most popular for pre-Christmas travel and Tuesday 27 for post-Christmas.
Top 10 busiest trains
- 1204 Paddington to Penzance, Wednesday 21 December
- 1204 Paddington to Penzance, Friday 23 December
- 1204 Paddington to Penzance, Thursday 22 December
- 1104 Paddington to Plymouth, Friday 23 December
- 0910 Penzance to Paddington (will start from Plymouth due to late start-up), Tuesday 27 December
- 1436 Paddington to Paignton, Friday 23 December
- 1020 Penzance to Paddington, Tuesday 27 December
- 1904 Paddington to Plymouth, Wednesday 21 December
- 1404 Paddington to Penzance, Friday 23 December
- 1035 Paddington to Exeter St Davids, Friday 23 December
How do I avoid busy trains?
- Travel as early as you are able to. Services in the latter half of the week, and between 1000 and 1400, are generally busiest
- Please be aware that rail services will shut down earlier on Christmas Eve. Customers should only travel if necessary and complete their journey by lunchtime.
- A significantly reduced service will operate after Christmas and customer should check before they travel.
Those looking to travel for the Christmas getaway on GWR services are being urged to travel as early as possible, to book a seat* and to only travel if absolutely necessary on Christmas Eve. Customers who do need to travel by train on Christmas Eve should complete their journey by lunchtime.
With ongoing industrial action next week, customers are advised to continually check train times before travelling as there could be short-notice alterations, especially to late-night services.
Trades unions are taking industrial action, including strike action and action short of strike (an overtime ban), over December and January that will affect rail services from 24 December 2022 to 8 January 2023.
Services will start later on Tuesday 27 December and a significantly reduced, revised timetable will operate. Planned engineering work will also affect some routes. There may also be some short-notice changes or cancellations and customer should check before they travel, and travel earlier.
The TSSA union is taking strike action on 28 and 29 December. Trains will continue to be disrupted with a significantly reduced level of service.
On strike days between 3 and 7 January only an extremely reduced service will operate on a limited number of routes and customers are advised to only travel if necessary on these dates. Some parts of the GWR network will have no service at all. Services will start later (0730) and all journeys must be completed by 1830.
On the day after the strike action, Sunday 8 January, trains will start later and there could be short-notice cancellations and alterations.
On the days affected, passengers are advised to find an alternative way to travel. Where services are running, customers should only travel by train if absolutely necessary, and it is highly recommended that a seat reservation is made*.
Other train operators are also affected by this action, so onward travel could also be affected.
Where trains are able to operate, they are expected to be extremely busy.
Customers who have already purchased tickets for strike days can claim a full refund or amend their ticket; those who travel and are delayed may be entitled to Delay Repay compensation if they are delayed by 15 minutes or more.
To help customers, tickets will be valid for travel on alternative days on GWR services as follows:
- Tickets for 24, 27 December can be used the day before (where applicable), or up to and including Thursday 29 December
- Tickets for 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 January can be used the day before, or up to and including Tuesday 10 January
Season-ticket holders can apply for compensation through the Delay Repay scheme.
For more detailed information, including when journey planners will be updated with the latest train times, please visit www.gwr.com/strike.
Media Relations Manager
Great Western Railway
0845 410 4444
07703 890 711
Notes to editors
Notes to Editors.
- Tuesday 20 to Friday 23 December
A full timetable is expected to operate. Trains are expected to be very busy. Please check your journey before you travel as trains could be subject to short-notice alterations due to the ongoing industrial action. Customers are recommended to reserve a seat*.
- Christmas Eve
Services will finish much earlier. Only travel by train if absolutely necessary. Customers are urged to travel as early as possible, book a seat* and complete their journey by lunchtime.
- Christmas Day and Boxing Day
No GWR trains to operate.
- Tuesday 27 December
A reduced timetable will operate on all routes and there could be some short-notice cancellations and alterations. Engineering work may also affect your journey. Please check before you travel.
- Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 December (Strike days)
The TSSA union this week announced strike action on these two dates. Trains will continue to be disrupted with a significantly reduced level of service. Engineering work may also affect your journey. Please check before you travel.
- Friday 30 and Saturday 31 December
Trains will continue to be disrupted with a significantly reduced level of service. Trains are expected to be very busy and engineering work may also affect your journey. Please check your journey before you travel.
- Sunday 1 and Monday 2 January 2023
Trains will continue to be disrupted with a significantly reduced level of service. Trains are expected to be very busy. Please check your journey before you travel.
- Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4, Thursday 5, Friday 6 and Saturday 7 January (Strike days)
An extremely limited service will operate. Services will start at 07:30 and all journeys must be completed before 18:30. Passengers are advised to find an alternative way to travel. Where services are running, customers should only travel by train if absolutely necessary.
- Sunday 8 January
Trains will continue to be disrupted. There will be a reduced level of service throughout the day and some late-night services may be cancelled. Please check before you travel.
* To help make sure everyone can travel safely, you must reserve a space before travelling on many of our trains. This helps us limit the number of people on these trains. For reservable trains, we’ll automatically allocate you a space if one is available or ask you to try another service if not. Don’t worry, we always leave space on board for those with walk-up tickets, such as season tickets, or those who may have been disrupted.
First Greater Western Limited, trading as “Great Western Railway” (GWR), operates trains across the Great Western franchise area, which includes South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, across southern England and into London. GWR provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services, and before the covid-19 pandemic helped over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year. GWR has been awarded a National Rail Contract to continue operating the Great Western network, which shall run up to 21 June 2025, with the potential for a further three years at the Secretary of State’s discretion. Find out more here: https://www.gwr.com/about-us