Only ‘absolutely necessary’ rail travel advised

Two days of national strike action later this week are expected to cause disruption to rail passengers on the West Coast main line, Chiltern main line, and all routes in the West Midlands, North West and in Cumbria.

Passengers considering using the railway on Thursday 18 and Saturday 20 August are being advised to only travel if absolutely necessary.

Repeated coordinated strike action, over pay and modernisation plans by the RMT and TSSA unions on Thursday 18 and Saturday 20 August will cause severe disruption for passengers with only about a fifth of trains running.

Four of the country’s biggest stations will see services reduced to:
Five departures per hour from London Euston (normally 17 on average)
Ten departures per hour from Birmingham New Street (normally 40 on average)
Two departures per hour from Liverpool Lime Street (normally 13 on average)
Six departures per hour from Manchester Piccadilly (normally 30 on average)

People are being warned not to get caught out with trains starting later at 7.30am and finishing much earlier.

Last trains will leave stations between 3pm and 5pm with final arrivals by 6.30pm.

Tim Shoveller, Network Rail’s North West and Central region managing director, said: “It saddens me that we are again having to ask passengers to stay away from the railway for two days this week due to unnecessary strike action, when we should be helping them enjoy their summers. We have made a good and fair pay offer but, with the exception of our TSSA management grades who accepted the deal, our unions are refusing to put it to a ballot to let our employees have a say, and sadly that means more disruption on the rail network.

“We’ll run as many services as we can this Thursday and Saturday, but it will only be around a fifth of the usual timetable, so please only travel if absolutely necessary and if you must travel, plan ahead and check when your last train will be.”

Disruption is also expected early in the morning after each day of industrial action – Friday 19 August and Sunday 21 August – as striking workers return to duties.

In London additional disruption is expected on Friday 19 August due to a strike on the London Underground.