Stena Line has carried an extra 5,000 passengers on the Belfast-Stranraer route in the last few days as thousands of people face flight disruption in the run-in to Christmas.

The ferry company expects to carry 105,000 passengers across its five Irish Sea routes, 47,000 of which will be between Belfast and Stranraer, from December 20 to January 5.

Also running as scheduled are connecting ScotRail train services from Stranraer to Glasgow and Glasgow to Edinburgh and Virgin trains from Glasgow to Carlisle,
Birmingham and London are operating with minor delays.
A spokesman said: “We have carried additional 5,000 foot passengers on our Belfast to Stranraer route over the past number days due to the ongoing flight cancellations and last minute bookings.
“All our Ireland ferry and UK sailings are operating as scheduled and we have brought in extra staff to help accommodate the uplift in customers at
this time.

“We have also organised additional coaches to help cope with the extra demand that we are experiencing.”
He added: “Sailings are continuing to book up fast, especially the UK ferries, but we still have availability on most sailings, so our message to people needing
to make travel arrangements is not to leave it until the last minute.”

Meanwhile, Irish Ferries is laying on an additional UK to Dublin sailing today (Christmas Eve) in an effort to help passengers struggling with the knock-on effect of the weather.

The 800-passenger Dublin Swift fast-craft sails from Holyhead to Dublin at 17.15, three hours after the ferry company’s Christmas sailings were originally due to end. The extra sailing arrives into Dublin port at 19.15. UK-Ireland sailings then re-start on December 27. 

Irish Ferries’ head of passenger sales Declan Mescall said: “Hundreds of passengers are turning up at the port on trains which have been badly delayed.

“We don’t want anyone stranded at Holyhead on Christmas Eve, so though our cruise ferry, the Ulysses was due to be our last sailing at 14.10, we are – for the first time – putting on an additional sailing, to try to ensure that everyone who is desperate to get to Ireland for Christmas can do so.”