Expected train strikes leave Leicester students worried how they will get home for Christmas

By Daniel Bellamy

Recent train strikes and some rail disruption caused by bridge damage has left students in Leicester anxiously questioning how they will travel home for Christmas at the end of the first semester of the academic year.

Network Rail warned: “Due to industrial action, there will be significantly reduced train services across the railway from Tuesday 13 December until Sunday 8 January.

“Trains will be busier and likely to start later and finish earlier, and there will be no services at all in some places.”

Repaired: Foster’s Bridge underpass

The route connecting Leicester and Peterborough was recently compromised after a lorry carrying heavy goods collided hit Foster’s Bridge in Ketton, destroying a section of the track running above it.

This crash happened shortly before 8am on November 5 and was only back and running after repairs on November 26.

Since then another vehicle has crashed into the same bridge, but without affecting train services thanks to the recent repair work which strengthened the underpass meaning less damage was caused.

The original crash closed the line for three weeks and alternative bus services had to be put in place.

The fresh round of rail strikes added to worries about other potential train service disruptions has left students in the area uncertain on how they will get home for Christmas at the end of semester.

Meg Snook, a creative writing and film studies student, said: “I feel concerned about the rail strikes because, as someone who lives three hours away from university and in a town, I rely on public transport to get home.

“Being unsure of what is going to be cancelled last minute or not available at all is incredibly stressful because I worry if I will get stranded on a changeover on my way back.

“I think it will significantly affect other students travelling home for Christmas because, even though there are options like the National Express, they will be very busy, and so will the roads, especially around Christmas.”

Network Rail has since released a statement, saying: “If you’re travelling, plan ahead and check your first and last available trains.”

Miss Snook added: “The appeal of university is living away from home – so many of us may find ourselves with no way home at all, especially if parents do not have cars or means to pick up their child in case of a problem.”

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