Rail passengers travelling over the Christmas period seemed to accept restrictions caused by strikes and engineering works, according to Greater Anglia.

But the first week of January is set to be a different matter - and people are urged to stay away from trains unless they have a vital journey to make.

The first week of the year - from Tuesday, January 3 to Saturday, January 7 is set to see five days of strikes bringing most services to a halt every day.

The only services to run will be a very limited number of trains on the main line between London and Norwich through Ipswich and Colchester.

This is because of strikes called by the RMT and ASLEF unions. There will be no trains at all on branch line or cross-country services for five days.

There had been fears that the strike that ran from 6pm on Christmas Eve to 6am on December 27 would cause problems for people travelling home for Christmas.

But Greater Anglia said most passengers seemed to work out a way around the disruption by changing their travel plans.

Although detailed figures are not yet in for the number of travellers using the trains, staff at main stations - including Ipswich - said December 23 seemed exceptionally busy as many travellers seemed to be travelling earlier than they would normally.

A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said that on December 27 the number of people travelling was more or less normal for that time of year.

Most people seemed to making long-distance journeys associated with Christmas visits or making shopping trips.

However, the number of people making leisure trips to London after Christmas was likely to be reduced because of engineering work which is forcing the use of a bus and Tube replacement service because the line is closed between Ingatestone and Liverpool Street Station.

More strikes may be announced in the next few days - and passengers from this region hoping to head to London for weekend trips in the spring will find yet more bus replacement services as Network Rail carries out more engineering work between London and Shenfield.