Train operators publish detailed strike plans

Many train operators have published advice to their passengers over the past 24 hours about next week’s rail strikes, and some have provided detailed timetables for strike days.

The RMT has called three 24-hour strikes on 21, 22 and 23 June, which will affect nearly all train operators. The disruption will be worsened because signallers and other Network Rail staff who are RMT members are also set to walk out at the same time.

The dispute is over jobs and pay, and other unions are also planning to take action next week or in the near future. ASLEF has announced strikes of its driver members at Greater Anglia on 23 June, which will coincide with an RMT strike day. The white collar union TSSA is balloting its members at Avanti West Coast, and a future walkout there could affect operational managers as well, who will not then be available to stand in for absent staff. TSSA is also balloting more than 6,000 Network Rail staff for strikes and action short of a strike as the disputes worsen, while ASLEF, which represents most drivers, is balloting its members at nine other operators.

Elsewhere, London tram drivers are staging two 48-hour strikes on 28-29 June and 13-14 July, while open access operator Hull Trains faces disruption on 26 June, when its drivers will walk out for the day. London Underground is also set to be disrupted by another strike on 21 June.

Next week’s walkouts will also mean disruption on the days after each strike, because many trains will not be in the right places at the start of the following day.

Operators are planning to provide limited services on most main lines, but some parts of the country will see no trains at all. Great Western Railway, for example, will not be running west of Plymouth on strike days, which means all lines in Cornwall will be closed. Greater Anglia will not be running trains on many of its regional routes and branch lines, leaving places like Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Sheringham, Clacton and Felixstowe unserved. LNER will not be running to Glasgow or north of Edinburgh, and expects to run 38 per cent of its normal timetable.

Like other operators, Transport for Wales is advising people not to try to travel on strike days unless they must, because although TfW staff will not be striking, Network Rail walkouts will affect signallers in Wales. For the same reason, ScotRail is also warning that domestic services within Scotland will also face ‘significant disruption’, while the situation will be similar on Govia Thameslink Railway and Merseyrail, where the operators’ staff will not be walking out but routes will be affected by the lack of Network Rail staff for signalling centres.

Network Rail is deploying emergency substitutes where possible, but it said as they are a ‘fraction of the usual workforce, only a severely limited service will be available’.

Where trains do run they will operate at most between 07.30 and 18.30, but last trains may depart several hours earlier than that so that they can return to depots. More detailed timetables are due to be published before the weekend.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has called for urgent talks with the transport secretary and chancellor, but Grant Shapps told MPs in the Commons yesterday that ‘Ministers have and do meet with him but these negotiations are a matter between the employer and the union, and the employer is meeting with the union every single day and that is indeed the best way to get this resolved.’