Tories accused over Boxing Day 'rail standstill'

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Rail maintenance work (file image)

Labour has accused the Tories of overseeing a "rail standstill" on Boxing Day - and pointed out they complained about a lack of trains on the bank holiday while in opposition.

Five out of 28 operators are running vastly reduced services on 26 December.

Shadow transport minister Andy McDonald said: "The Tory hypocrisy on this issue is astounding."

The Department for Transport said engineers are working to deliver "vital investment" in Britain's railways.

Network Rail says it uses the Christmas and new year period to carry out engineering and other improvement work because fewer people use trains.

It said its workers will undertake more than 330 projects as part of a £148m programme to improve services and facilities.

According to the National Rail Enquiries website, only Chiltern, ScotRail, Southeastern, Southern and the Stansted Express will be running limited services on 26 December.

Mr McDonald said: "Tory ministers' handling of the Boxing Day rail standstill is making it much harder for families and friends to visit one another this Christmas break.

"In opposition the Tories attacked the Boxing Day rail shutdown, but they've now had more than eight years to do something about it and haven't lifted a finger."

A DfT spokesman said most of the network is open for business in the festive period but some routes will be heavily affected.

He said: "We expect the industry to deliver the highest standards of customer service, including giving passengers the information they need to plan their journeys accordingly."