COMMUTERS are being warned to travel early as trains are set to be cancelled this Christmas Eve. 

West Midlands Railway (WMR) is telling rail users to travel "as early as possible" - including today - due to the possible disruption this weekend. 

It came as the Christmas getaway got underway on the roads on Friday - the RAC advising motorists to travel before 11am or after 6pm, if possible, to reduce the chance of being stuck in long queues.

WMR has blamed staff sickness and a shortage of train crew, as well as the impact of the recent storms across the network including Storm Pia. 

In a statement WMR said: "Due to the combined impact we are unfortunately anticipating disruption to services in the run up to the Christmas break. 

"Forecast train crew availability from our rostering team suggests services will be subject to significant disruption on Christmas Eve, December 24.

"Services on this date are already reduced ahead of the planned shutdown period on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Worcester News: DISRUPTION: West Midlands TrainsDISRUPTION: West Midlands Trains "We advise all passengers who can travel ahead of Christmas Eve to do so.

"Tickets for Christmas Eve will be accepted for travel on our services on Friday, December 22, and Saturday, December 23.

"With the anticipated level of disruption and cancellations, capacity will likely be extremely limited."

WMR has listed a number of routes which would be affected in both directions including: 


  • Snow Hill Lines (Leamington Spa / Stratford Upon Avon – Whitlocks End – Dorridge – Moor St/Snow Hill – Stourbridge Kidderminster – Worcester

  • Birmingham New St – Worcester – Hereford

  • Cross City Line (Lichfield – Sutton Coldfield – New St – Longbridge – Redditch/ Bromsgrove


The spokesperson said: "Services on our regional routes to Worcester and Hereford will be affected.

"We anticipate that up to 50 per cent of services may be at risk of short notice cancellation throughout the day.

"Services on our local routes through New St station will be affected - we anticipate that approximately 30 per cent of services may be at risk of short notice cancellation particularly in the afternoon.

Worcester News: STATION: Worcester Foregate Street StationSTATION: Worcester Foregate Street Station (Image: Jonathan Barry)

"The predicated cancellations are expected to occur unless there is a material change in our forecast crew availability."

WMR says the journey planner will be updated overnight on Saturday to confirm which services are affected. 

The operator asks people travelling on Christmas Eve to check all individual legs of a planned route are operating before setting off. 

It says rail replacement buses will be on standby "at key locations" but says capacity will be limited.

"All services will come to an end between 5pm and 6pm at the very latest, ahead of our planned shutdown over Christmas Day and Boxing Day," the spokesperson said.

Worcester News: TRAINS: Trains are likely to be cancelledTRAINS: Trains are likely to be cancelled

"There will be very limited options later in the day to complete journeys via other means while the wider public transport system closes down."

Those who chose not to travel with WMR after buying a ticket can claim a refund on the WMR's website,

The spokesperson added: "We understand cancelling any services will cause inconvenience to passengers but based on forecast crew availability levels, and at such an important time of year, we would rather give customers as much notice as we can so that you can amend your plans wherever possible."

We reported on Thursday, (December 21) West Midlands Railway (WMR) was forced to terminate services at Worcester - with no services running for a period between Worcester and Hereford - after a tree came down on the line. 

On the roads the RAC said road congestion is likely to peak on Friday – the last working day before Christmas Day.