ScotRail ticket examiners vote to continue strikes

ScotRail ticket examiners vote to continue strikes

Ticket examiners on ScotRail have confirmed their backing for continued strikes in a new ballot. The law required another vote, because their industrial action began six months ago. The dispute concerns differences in pay for rest day working between ASLEF drivers and other frontline staff, and also involves conductors, who have been striking alongside the ticket examiners every Sunday since the spring. The conductors, who walked out first, have already confirmed their support for continuing industrial action. The RMT said 90 per cent of the ticket examiners who voted had been in favour of continuing the strikes. RMT general secretary Mick Lynch hailed the ‘stunning result’. He continued: ‘It is now down to ScotRail and their political masters to take this key group of staff seriously, to stop snubbing talks and to get round the table with the union to negotiate a fair and just settlement.’ 

The examiners’ walkouts are now set to continue at least until the end of October, and ScotRail warned that only a ‘limited service’ would continue to run on Sundays. It added: ‘It’s disappointing that the RMT’s ticket examiner members have voted to continue with their long-running strike. We’re seeing customers gradually return to Scotland’s railway, but our financial position is precarious, and any strike action is damaging and wrong at a time when we need to deliver a safe and reliable service. To build a more sustainable and greener railway for the future and reduce the burden on the taxpayer, we need to change. All of us in the railway – management, staff, trade unions, suppliers, and government – need to work together to modernise the railway.’

Helicopters assist with tunnel repairs

Materials to repair a ventilation shaft in one of the country’s deepest railway tunnels have been arriving by air. It was decided to airlift construction materials to the site on the Hope Valley line because Cowburn Tunnel is in a remote spot in the Peak District National Park. The shaft which ventilates the tunnel is 241 metres deep, which is higher than the One Canada Square skyscraper at Canary Wharf in London’s Docklands. But for nearly 130 years, as well as providing air to the tunnel more than 250 metres below, the ventilation shaft has also acted like a huge drainpipe, although that was not the intention of the engineers who designed it for the Midland Railway in the 1890s. When rain falls on the land above it seeps through the soil before making its way through the brickwork of the shaft, showering water into the tunnel and on to the tracks below. Now Network Rail has installed a sophisticated system of drainage pipes to collect the water in a controlled way so it can be diverted into drains in the tunnel.

‘Finishing touches’ complete on first section of higher Dawlish sea wall

Network Rail said it has completed the ‘finishing touches’ to the first section of the stronger sea wall at Dawlish in south Devon, where new LED lighting and seats have been installed along a 360m stretch of the defences protecting the Great Western main line. The new section of wall runs along Marine Parade to the west of Dawlish station and is 2.5m higher than the previous one. It features a new curved top, to deflect the waves away from the raillway and back towards the sea. Work to build it started in May 2019, and the main structure was completed in July 2020 before being opened officially by rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris on 25 September last year.