Edinburgh train disruption: Torphichen man Kristian Melson misses chance to go to aunt's funeral due to train cancellation

A frustrated rail passenger will miss the chance to say a final goodbye to his late aunt after planned strikes saw his train cancelled.
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Kristian Melson had hoped to attend his aunt’s funeral on Thursday after she died on July 13 at the age of 76.

But thanks to the travel disruption, which will bring services across the UK to a halt this week, the 30-year-old will now be forced to miss the service in Cambridge.

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"I am really frustrated that there are more strikes after recent disruption," said Kristian, whose trip to Newcastle at the weekend for a football match was also impacted by the disruption.

Kristian MelsonKristian Melson
Kristian Melson

"I cannot see my family at such a tragic time."

Unable to find an alternative method of travel, Kristian, from Torphichen, who is an operations manager at a finance industry writing company, has been left trying to organise a livestream of his aunt's funeral service.

He was liaising with close family members but by 5pm on Tuesday had still not been able to confirm if the streaming would be possible.

He said: "My aunt died on the 13th and I booked the train and they only told us on Thursday the service was cancelled.

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"By then the flights had become too expensive. And driving was not an option because I have to make a quick turnaround. It is a six-and-a-half hour drive there and back again and it's just not possible for me to do it.

"I did manage to get a refund from LNER but have been left frustrated by this experience. I really wanted to attend my aunt's funeral."

Kristian has been trying to reduce air travel to improve his carbon footprint and had vowed to try and use other forms of transport where possible.

But he added that being unable to attend his aunt’s funeral had devastated other family members who had been looking forward to seeing him.

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"I moved to Scotland knowing that I was only ever four hours away by train," he said.

"My family are all based in the South East so they can go together by car between them. They are sad I cannot attend and pay my respects."

He added that the effect the strikes were having on people’s personal lives was stopping him from fully sympathising with the striking drivers.

"Most people understand the reasons why (staff) want to strike, we have all felt the squeeze in our finances because of inflation... The strikes are highlighting the issues the rail workers are facing but the disruption is angering travellers,” he said.

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"The strikes are stopping people going about their daily lives which isn't helping me agree with their cause."

Only a fifth of services are set to run on Wednesday on around half of the network, so passengers are being urged to only travel by train if they must, and if it is necessary, allow extra time and check when their last train will depart.

Members of the drivers' union Aslef will also strike on Saturday in a number of companies.