Saturday, December 27, 2008

Britain's rail network remains closed after broken resolutions

Britain’s rail network remained largely closed yesterday after broken resolutions from transport chiefs to review the 58-hour shutdown over Christmas.

Passenger groups, green campaigners and opposition MPs called for urgent action to end the Christmas hiatus whereby the last trains on major lines depart between 8pm and 10pm on Christmas Eve and return only on 6am on December 27.

The scarcity of services forced an estimated 45,000 away supporters of football clubs in the Premier League and Championship, the top two divisions, on to the roads. “Families and football fans had no choice but to get into their cars, pump into the atmosphere and put up with potentially eyewatering levels ofmore CO2 congestion because the railways remain shut,” said Stephen Hammond, a Conservative transport spokesman.

With no services on the West Coast Main Line and London Midland, Arsenal fans had to travel by car or coach to their team’s clash with Aston Villa at Villa Park in Birmingham.

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