Operators warn against all but essential travel as strikes loom

Passengers are being warned by Network Rail and train operators not to attempt to go by train tomorrow, which is the first of several strike days during early October.

Tomorrow will see stoppages called by the RMT, ASLEF and TSSA, and the joint effect will come near to closing the network in England. Walkouts by Network Rail signallers will also mean serious disruption in Scotland and Wales.

Network Rail has estimated that about 11 per cent of usual services will be able to run. Manchester Piccadilly, Liverpool Lime Street, Birmingham New Street and London Euston will be among many stations which will be closed. Caledonian Sleeper services will also be affected, but trains are expected to run between the central belt and London.

A second strike of ASLEF drivers has been called for Wednesday. Birmingham New Street and London Euston will both be closed, while Liverpool Lime Street will only be open for Chester services. Only very limited services will be running from  Manchester Piccadilly.

A third strike, of 40,000 RMT staff, will be staged on the following Saturday, 8 October. Trains will run on main routes, but there will be fewer than usual. Last trains will depart between 15.00 and 17.00.

A further RMT strike on ScotRail only has also been called for 10 October.

Network Rail’s North West and Central region managing director Tim Shoveller said: ‘Despite our best efforts to compromise and find a breakthrough in talks, rail unions remain intent on continuing and coordinating their strike action.

‘This serves only to ensure our staff forgo even more of their pay unnecessarily, as well as causing even more disruption for our passengers and further damaging the railway’s recovery from the pandemic.

‘Passengers who want to travel this Saturday, and indeed next Wednesday and next Saturday, are asked only to do so if absolutely necessary. Those who must travel should expect disruption and make sure they check when their last train will depart.’

There have been talks between the government and union leaders since new transport secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan was appointed as the replacement for Grant Shapps in early September, but without apparent effect.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said that it was ‘encouraging’ that Anne-Marie Trevelyan had met the union.

He continued: ‘We welcome this more positive approach from the government to engage with us as a first step to finding a suitable settlement. However, as no new offer has been tabled, our members have no choice but to continue.’

There is likely to be some disruption in the early morning of the day after each strike, Sunday 2 October, Thursday 6 October and Sunday 9 October, as the network returns to normal.

source= http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/2022/09/30-operators-warn-against-all-but.html