Rail operator urges customers to consider making alternative travel arrangements to visit Lincoln Christmas Market

East Midlands Railway is urging customers to look at alternative travel arrangements due to strike action by staff on Friday and Saturday.

Strike action will affect East Midlands Railway services on Friday and Saturday, including trips to Lincoln Christmas Market.

The rail operator is warning that strikes by the RMT union mean a significant reduction in services on December 3 and 4.

Those travelling will face extended queues and need to have completed their return journey by 8pm on Friday and Saturday evenings as services will reduce after that time.

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The strikes will see significant reductions in service across the EMR network, including services to and from London.

East Midlands Railway is urging customers travelling to Lincoln this weekend for the Christmas Market to consider making alternative travel arrangements.

Bosses say the “deeply disappointing decision” by the RMT to escalate its strike action means there will be significantly fewer staff available to work on trains and therefore a very reduced service.

EMR says it has also done everything it can to protect services to and from Lincoln. However, they admit it is clear this level of service will not be sufficient to provide adequate capacity for the thousands of customers expected to travel to Lincoln over the weekend and therefore EMR is urging visitors to consider their options.

Customers who have no alternative means of travelling and are planning to travel with EMR are urged to leave extra time for queues at stations and to ensure they have completed their journey by 8pm.

Neil Grabham, Customer Services Director at East Midlands Railway, said: “Asking customers to make alternative arrangements for travelling is never something we would wish to do and EMR is proud to play a vital role in supporting events like the Lincoln Christmas Market and provide safe and reliable transport for customers.

“We are incredibly disappointed and share the massive frustration of customers, businesses and organisers.

“We would urge those travelling to do so by alternative means, including the dedicated Lincoln Christmas Market Park and Ride and neighbouring train operators.”

More details are available on www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk and www.lincoln-christmasmarket.co.uk.

There will also be a significant reduced service across the EMR network as a result of the strikes. More information, including timetables are available at www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk and through online journey planners.

Members of the RMT union started striking on Sundays in May. In an effort to reach agreement and end the strikes, EMR has been involved in intensive negotiations with representatives from the RMT for a number of weeks.

Following the conclusion of these negotiations earlier this month, EMR committed to providing a full written offer to the RMT by Friday November 26.

However, the RMT escalated its strike action and called strikes on Friday December 3 and Saturday December 4 – targeting one of the busiest periods in the East Midlands.

EMR provided the full written offer last week but the RMT has not suspended the strikes and therefore a reduced timetable will be in place across the EMR network.

This is continued action by senior conductors on EMR in a dispute with the company that has been running for months now over pay, conditions and contract issues.

Outline of amended services on Friday and Saturday:

Saturday December 4

Nottingham - Lincoln/Grimsby/Cleethorpes

A near normal service will be in place and there will be some limited strengthening, including the use of some Intercity style trains.

Rail Replacement Coaches will run in place of the handful of services which will not run.

Nottingham - Skegness

Nottingham - Skegness services will run between Nottingham and Grantham only and will be reduced before 8am and after 8pm. Rail Replacement coaches will run in place of cancelled trains between Nottingham and Grantham and between Grantham and Skegness all day.

Doncaster - Peterborough

Services will not run on this route on Friday or Saturday. Rail replacement coaches will run in place of trains however because of the Lincoln Christmas Market these buses are expected to be busier than usual.

You may use your ticket on board other operators as follows:

LNER - Between Peterborough and Lincoln (on Saturday) and between Retford and Doncaster.

Newark North Gate - Lincoln

Services will be reduced on this route throughout the day. Rail Replacement coaches will run in place of cancelled trains.