STRIKES by railway workers are not expected to cause significant disruption to this weekend's Christmas Fayre, despite train services being stopped.

The strikes, running every Saturday until the end of the year, are being held by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) against what they say is a move to driver-only operation, which would remove conductors from services. As a result, there will be no services between Hereford and Birmingham on Saturdays on West Midlands Railway.

The strikes are hitting services just as the region’s two main Christmas attractions, the Victorian Christmas Fare in Worcester and the German Market in Birmingham, get underway.

Worcester City Council said they did not expect there to be too much disruption and emphasised the different transport options available.

A spokesman said: "For people wanting to come to Worcester by car there is a park and ride set up by the county council where they can park and be bussed into the city."

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Commuter Jo Martyr, who regularly uses the Worcester to Birmingham service, said she understands why the RMT feel the need to strike.

"I can sympathise with the striking workers as they can see how dangerous it could be without any conductors on services.

"This weekend will be interesting because there are park and ride systems and coaches, but there will be people coming from Birmingham and Hereford who don't know that the trains aren't running.

"There will also be people who don't own cars and for whom the train is the easiest way to get to the city so it will be interesting to see what happens."

There will be rail replacement bus services running between Bromsgrove and Worcester Shrub Hill, as well as between Kidderminster and Worcester Shrub Hill.

West Midlands Railway says it has no plans to introduce driver-only operation, with Jan Chaudhry Van der Velde, managing director of WMR, said: "This industrial action is entirely unnecessary. We have never proposed driver-only operation.

"The action is benefitting nobody and has caused major inconvenience to passengers and businesses.

“More industrial action is scheduled but we remain determined to find a way of resolving this dispute without further disruption and inconvenience for our passengers."