My chaotic ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ Christmas journey home

First, Emma Rowley’s train was cancelled, then she was told she couldn’t have the emergency rental car she’d booked after all. So she bought one of the last business-class seats on a flight to Manchester – all to be home for Christmas. But, she says, it doesn’t have to be this way

Friday 22 December 2023 12:47
<p>Rail passengers were warned to expect more delays... Oh, and fares are going up, too </p>

Rail passengers were warned to expect more delays... Oh, and fares are going up, too

It has become our grimmest of festive traditions: Christmas getaway misery.

This year, the arrival of Storm Pia, coupled with a surprise strike by Eurotunnel staff, a broken-down train and – at least according to video circulating on social media – a plastic bag caught on overhead power lines somewhere between Stoke and Crewe stations, has gifted us the full house: grounded flights, motorway closures and rail chaos, with all trains cancelled from London’s Euston station, ever the nadir of festive journeys home.

With travellers reportedly left sleeping at stations overnight, National Rail warned that the fun was set to continue today, with the winning combination of staff shortages and the promise of 80mph winds, compounded by major engineering works.

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