Rail services severely impacted as strike action continues

Rail passengers are being reminded of upcoming strike action this weekend – the first weekend of the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas market and Bonfire Night.

Services will be severely impacted across the region with members of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) striking on Friday (4 November), members of the RMT Union including Network Rail and train operator staff will strike on Saturday (5 November) and Industrial action by the RMT union has also been announced for Avanti West Coast train managers on Sunday (6 November).

Rail union TSSA had called off forthcoming strikes at Network Rail (NR) in order to facilitate the progress of ongoing ‘constructive discussions’ aimed at improving the current offer.

The union does however remain in dispute with the Department for Transport (DfT) Train Operating Companies (TOCs) where strike action is still due to take place.

Commenting, TSSA Organising Director, Luke Chester said: “We have always said that where constructive talks are taking place, we will refrain from taking industrial action. Where employers, and/or the government are blocking progress we have no choice but to continue with a program of disruption.

“Our aim has always been to reach a point where we could secure an acceptable offer and we are now reaching that point in negotiations, with what are intensive and detailed discussions.

“Be in no doubt – if Network Rail fail to make sufficient progress to resolve this dispute, we will not hesitate to call further industrial action to protect our brilliant members. We do not strike lightly, and the government should take heed and allow the train companies under their control to come to the table with serious proposals.”

Steven Ireland, Network Rail’s director of stations for Birmingham New Street, said: “It’s so frustrating that passengers are yet again facing heavy disruption or cancellations to their rail journeys because of unnecessary strike action by unions.

“As we’re now gearing up for the festive season it also disrupts passengers who want to make the most of Birmingham’s city centre events and the Christmas Markets. On strike days I’d urge people to know that trains will finish much earlier than normal – even if you can catch a train into the city you won’t be able to get a train home. Please don’t risk it, check National Rail Enquiries and plan ahead.”

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Our focus in this dispute is the rail employers who have yet to make an offer that will create the conditions for a negotiated settlement.

“I call upon the new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to unshackle the rail industry so they can come to a settlement with RMT.

“We will vigorously pursue our industrial campaign until we achieve a deal.

On Friday 4 November:

  • West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway will run a limited service from 7:30am to 7:30pm between: Birmingham – Crewe – Liverpool (including local journeys between Birmingham – Wolverhampton), Birmingham – Northampton – London Euston, and on the Cross City Line between Lichfield – Birmingham – Redditch/Bromsgrove
  • There will be no West Midlands Railway, Chiltern Railway of CrossCountry services on any other route

On Saturday 5 November:

  • All train operators at Birmingham New Street station will be impacted by the strike action
  • Nine trains per hour will be leaving the station
  • Trains will run from 7am and last trains will leave between 3pm and 5pm with final arrivals by 6.30pm. The station will close completely at 7pm on Saturday evening

On Sunday 6 November: