Posted 20th May 2015 | 2 Comments

Train companies publish national strike plans


TRAIN operators have started to warn passengers that their services would be very restricted at best on Monday and Tuesday next week, as the prospect of a Network Rail strike comes closer.

Talks in the pay dispute between the RMT, TSSA and Network Rail are understood to be have been continuing at the conciliation service Acas, but there has been no sign of any breakthrough.

Train operators have been replanning their services to take account of the threatened 24–hour walkout, which is due to start at 17.00 on Bank Holiday Monday.

However, if the strike goes ahead train services would inevitably be affected from earlier in the day, as operators wind down and return trains to their depots before signallers go off duty at 17.00. On many lines there would be no service at all on Monday or Tuesday.

Network Rail employs more than 4,000 signallers and most are believed to be RMT members. Maintenance and engineering staff are also likely to strike, which would cast doubt on engineering work which had been planned for the Bank Holiday weekend.

ScotRail said its services would be badly affected if there is a strike, with nearly all trains cancelled on both days.

On Monday and Tuesday the routes expected to have a service are Edinburgh–Glasgow via Falkirk High, Edinburgh–Kirkcaldy/Cowdenbeath–Glenrothes, Glasgow Central–East Kilbride, Glasgow Queen St (High Level)–Anniesland and Glasgow Queen St (Low Level)–Cumbernauld.

On Monday only there would also be services between Glasgow Central–Paisley Gilmour Street, Glasgow Central–Neilston via Queens Park and Glasgow Central–Newton via Maxwell Park. There would no early morning or evening services on any line, with first trains not expected before 07.15 and last trains running by 17.45.

First Great Western said parts of its network would have no trains on Monday or Tuesday.

The lines with no service would be Oxford–Worcester–Hereford and Oxford–Didcot Parkway, Newton Abbot–Paignton, Plymouth–Penzance, Reading–Gatwick Airport/Basingstoke, Swindon–Gloucester–Cheltenham Spa, Bath Spa–Westbury–Portsmouth Harbour and Reading–Westbury–Taunton. There would also be no branch line services to Barnstaple, Exmouth, Falmouth Docks, Greenford, Gunnislake, Henley-on-Thames, Looe, Newquay, St Ives or Severn Beach.

Limited services would run on other Thames Valley and intercity routes. FGW warned that some services early on Wednesday were also expected to be disrupted.

South West Trains said its services would be limited on Monday, with all services stopped by later in the afternoon. There would be no SWT or Island Line services on Tuesday.

East Midlands Trains services on Monday would start later than usual and finish early, with the last departure from London St Pancras being the 17.30 to Nottingham. Other lines would have a reduced service with earlier closedowns, but there would be no services at all between Nottingham and Skegness. On Tuesday there would be no services on the Norwich–Nottingham–Liverpool, Derby–Crewe, Nottingham–Newark Castle, Newark North Gate–Grimsby and Nottingham–Skegness routes. Other routes, including the main line to and from London St Pancras, would have limited services with late starts and early finishes. The last trains would run between 18.00 and 19.00.

Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, said: “We would only be able to run a handful of services, and those that we are able to run would operate on a reduced service. Those services would be much busier than usual, so if customers are able to make other arrangements, I would kindly ask them to please do so.

“We have been in contact with employers and business organisations to let them know about the impact of the strike. We are also in touch with local authorities, the NHS and other public bodies to make sure that they are fully aware of what is happening.

“I am disappointed that our customers have to experience this level of disruption. We are doing everything we can to safely run as many services as is possible under the circumstances."

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Andrew, Birmingham

    Although I do not condemn Union presence in public sector industries, I do feel that the Network Rail employees are in no position to ask for such a pay rise, they are already very well paid for their skills. Network Rail has missed a majority of its targets over the past year, therefore the demanded pay rise is completely unjustified! Furthermore, the strike, if it does proceed, will have a devastating impact upon the economy as thousands, if not millions, would not be able to reach their workplaces. Shame on you RMT and TSSA! Hopefully, some temporary reconciliation can be reached before Monday.

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    My Daughter and 3 young Children are due to land at Gatwick during the strike period. She already has her Rail Tickets to Reading. I do not know what chaos will ensue at the Airport as Passengers try to switch to alternative means of Transport. But I blame the Unions 100% for this strike and have already dropped off an E-Mail to my MP to ask him to ban all strikes in the Public Sector. I presume that I'm not alone in this.