Latest Rail News

21.05.15

Mass cancellation of services announced as strike talks continue

Britain’s rail network is set to come to a standstill next week as operators announce the cancellation of services due to the planned strike of Network Rail workers.

Members of RMT and the TSSA who work for Network Rail are set to stage a 24-hour walkout starting at 5pm on Monday 25 May, a bank holiday. The unions have also instituted a 48-hour overtime ban from Monday.

Crucially, those who will be taking part in the strike include signallers, which will severely inhibit the ability of all operators to run services.

RTM reported yesterday that ScotRail had announced it would not be able to run the majority of its services if the proposed strike action by rail unions goes ahead.

Virgin Trains has cancelled all of its services on the West Coast Main Line on Monday and Tuesday, while Virgin Trains East Coast will run a severely reduced service.

On the Monday, trains will be running until the early afternoon, with the exception of services in Scotland beyond Edinburgh, where there will be no services to and from Aberdeen, Glasgow and Inverness. On the Tuesday a limited number of trains will run on the London – Leeds and London - York – Newcastle routes only.

A Virgin spokesman said customers would need to make alternative arrangements, and those travelling on Sunday 24 May or Wednesday 27 May were advised to check for disruption before travelling.

First Great Western has announced it will operate a severely reduced service between 07.30 and 18.30 on the Monday and Tuesday, however some services will not operate at all, including:

  • North Cotswolds line, from Oxford and calling at Worcester and Hereford, or services between Didcot and Oxford
  • Beyond Plymouth to Penzance and on Devon and Cornwall branch line services
  • Reading to Gatwick Airport/Reading to Basingstoke
  • Between Swindon and Gloucester/Cheltenham
  • Between Bath Spa and Portsmouth Harbour
  • Between Reading and Taunton
  • On the Henley-on-Thames and Greenford Branch lines
  • On the Severn Beach branch line

Chiltern Railways will also operate some services, but they will start later and finish earlier than usual. Services from Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone calling at Banbury will run  from 08.00 to 16.00 on the Monday, calling at all major stations, but not at Hatton, Lapworth, Kings Sutton, or Wembley Stadium.

The service will also run between the same times on the Tuesday but will not call at Hatton, Lapworth or Kings Sutton.

A reduced frequency service between Bicester North and London will operate between 07.30 and 17.00 on the Monday, and until 22.00 on the Tuesday.

On both days services will not call at Wembley Stadium, South Ruislip, Northolt Park and both Sudbury stations. Trains will not run between Princes Risborough and Aylesbury and Little Kimble and Monks Risborough stations will receive no service. 

Chiltern will also operate a service between Aylesbury and London between 07.30 and 17.00 on the Monday and until 22.00 on the Tuesday but some trains will not call at Rickmansworth.

The operator is also warning that on Tuesday, due to the handover between the limited number of available signallers, no trains can leave London Marylebone from 17.00 until just after 19.00.

Arriva Trains Wales has announced that on Monday there will be no service at all between:

  • Shrewsbury - Birmingham
  • Shrewsbury - Crewe
  • Shrewsbury to Wrexham
  • Wrexham - Chester
  • Chester - Manchester
  • Chester - Crewe
  • Wrexham - Bidston
  • Newport - Hereford
  • Lydney - Cheltenham

However until 14.30 services from Hereford to Shrewsbury and Holyhead to Chester will operate, calling all stations. Crewe to Manchester services will also run, calling at Sandbach, Alderley Edge and Wilmslow.

The operator also plans to run services until 14.30 between:

  • West Wales - Cardiff
  • Swansea - Shrewsbury (via Heart of Wales Line)
  • Aberystwyth/Pwllheli - Shrewsbury
  • Valleys & Cardiff local routes
  • Ebbw Vale - Cardiff
  • Maesteg - Lydney
  • Blaenau Ffestiniog - Llandudno
  • Llandudno Junction - Llandudno

On Tuesday Arriva will run no services at all, except:

  • Rhymney - Cardiff Bay (1 train per hour) 
  • Bargoed - Cardiff Bay (1 train per hour) 
  • Cardiff - Severn Tunnel Junction (2 trains per hour) 
  • Crewe - Manchester (1 train per hour - calling at Sandbach, Alderley Edge and Wilmslow) 

Northern Rail expects to be able to run some services on Monday until mid-afternoon at a reduced frequency. However many services will not run at all, including:

  • Hadfield/Glossop - Manchester
  • Rose Hill/Marple/New Mills - Manchester
  • Sheffield - Manchester
  • Buxton - Stockport - Manchester
  • Stoke - Stockport - Manchester
  • Alderley Edge - Stockport - Manchester
  • Chester - Altrincham - Manchester
  • Liverpool - Warrington - Manchester
  • Kirkby - Wigan - Bolton
  • Southport - Wigan - Manchester
  • Blackpool - Wigan - Liverpool
  • Warrington - Earlestown
  • Blackpool - Bolton - Manchester
  • Clitheroe - Blackburn - Manchester
  • Preston - Ormskirk
  • Blackpool South - Colne
  • Blackburn - Todmorden - Manchester
  • Hebden Bridge - Manchester
  • Blackpool - Preston - Hebden Bridge
  • Carlisle - Whitehaven - Barrow
  • Barrow - Carnforth - Lancaster - Preston
  • Lancaster - Morecambe/Heysham
  • Ellesmere Port - Warrington
  • Sheffield - Manchester
  • Doncaster - Scunthorpe
  • Hull - York
  • Sheffield - York
  • Cleethorpes - Barton on Humber
  • Huddersfield - Wakefield
  • Huddersfield - Manchester Victoria
  • Wakefield - Knottingley
  • Leeds - Knottingley via Pontefract
  • Skipton - Carlisle
  • Skipton - Lancaster/Morecambe
  • Hebden Bridge - Manchester
  • Hebden Bridge - Preston/Blackpool
  • Hexham - Carlisle

On Tuesday the operator believes nearly all of its lines will be closed, but hopes to be operate services between on 07.30 and 18.30 from:

  • Sheffield - Doncaster
  • Sheffield - Chesterfield
  • Crewe - Manchester via Manchester Airport (diesel trains only)
  • Manchester - Liverpool via Earlestown (diesel trains only)

First TransPennine Express is also expecting severe disruption and will be releasing more information on routes affected this afternoon.

East Midlands Trains has released the below table to show how its services will be affected:

Route

Mon 25 May 2015

Tue 26 May 2015

London St Pancras International to/from Sheffield / Derby / Nottingham / Leicester

Subject to change

Trains will start running later than usual in the morning and finish earlier than usual in the evening. The first train to arrive into London St Pancras International will be at 0748(from Melton Mowbray). The first train from Sheffield will depart 0629, calling at Derby 0705 and arriving into London St Pancras at 0856. The first train from Nottingham leaves 0630 and arrives 0823. The last trains to leave London St Pancras International will be the 1657 to Sheffield and the 1730 to Nottingham.

Trains will start running later than usual in the morning and finish earlier than usual in the evening. The first train to arrive into London St Pancras International will be at 0910 (from Derby). The last trains to leave London St Pancras International are the 1458 to Sheffield, 1601 to Nottingham, and the 1626 to Derby. A bus service will operate between Corby and Kettering to connect in with trains.

Matlock to/from Nottingham / Newark Castle

Subject to change

A near normal service but earlier closedown by 2000.

A service will run from 0700 until 1900 between Matlock and Nottingham only.

Derby to/from Crewe / Stoke-on-Trent / Uttoxeter

Subject to change

A near normal service but earlier closedown by 2000.

No service.

Nottingham to/from Skegness / Boston / Sleaford / Grantham

No service.

No service.

Nottingham to/from Worksop / Shirebrook/ Mansfield / Hucknall

Subject to change

A near normal service but earlier closedown by 2030.

A train service operates between 0700 and 1900 between Mansfield Woodhouse and Nottingham only.

Lincoln to/from Newark / Nottingham / Leicester / Loughborough / Sileby / Syston

Subject to change

 
A near normal service but earlier closedown by 2030.

A train service operates between 0700 and 1900 between Leicester and Nottingham only.

Doncaster to/from Peterborough / Spalding / Sleaford / Lincoln

Subject to change

A near normal service but with a later start of services after 0700 and earlier closedown by 1830.

No service.

Newark Northgate to/from Grimsby

Subject to change

A near normal service but with earlier closedown by 2030.

 No service.

Norwich to/from Nottingham / Grantham / Peterborough / Ely

Subject to change

Significantly reduced service, Ely to Norwich only with closedown by 1200.

No service.

Liverpool Lime Street to/from Nottingham / Sheffield / Stockport / Manchester

Subject to change

Significantly reduced service, Nottingham to Sheffield only with closedown by 2030.

No service.

 CrossCountry has announced it will only be operating the following revised timetable for the two days of action:

Monday

  • Plymouth to Bristol Temple Meads starting at 07.25 and every hour until 17.00
  • Bristol Temple Meads to Plymouth starting at 06.45, then 08.45 and every hour until 17.00
  • Derby to Newcastle via Leeds starting at 08.11 and every hour until 15.11
  • Newcastle to Derby via Leeds starting at 08.35 and every hour until 15.35

Tuesday

  • Plymouth to Bristol Temple Meads starting at 07.25 and every hour until 17.00
  • Bristol Temple Meads to Plymouth starting at 06.45, then 08.45 and every hour until 17.00
  • Derby to Newcastle via Doncaster starting at 08.11 and every hour until 15.11
  • Newcastle to Derby via Doncaster starting at 08.35 and every hour until 15.35

London Midland says that it will only be able to operate a very restricted service, with trains running on the following lines on both Monday and Tuesday between 07.30 and 18.30:

  • Coventry to Wolverhampton via Birmingham New Street
  • Kidderminster to Dorridge via Birmingham Snow Hill
  • Kidderminster to Stratford–upon–Avon via Shirley and Birmingham Snow Hill
  • Stourbridge Town to Stourbridge Junction
  • Coventry to Nuneaton
  • Bletchley to Bedford (Tuesday only)

London operators are expecting to be hit hard by the strike. South West Trains is advising people not to travel on Monday as it will be only operating a severely reduced service with all trains stopped by late afternoon. On Tuesday it will operate no services at all.

Southeastern has not released specific information but has said that it expects its services to be severely impacted and the company is warning people to avoid travelling on Monday or Tuesday.

c2c has not specified if services will be cancelled but has announced that they will be “severely disrupted” from 15.00 on Monday and all day Tuesday.

Even TfL will not be unaffected by the strikes. While most tube services will run as normal there will be some disruption:

  • Bakerloo line: trains will not run north of Queen’s Park        
  • District line: there will be no service between Wimbledon and Putney Bridge after 17.00 on Monday and all day Tuesday. There will be no service between Turnham Green and Richmond all day on Monday and Tuesday.
  • Waterloo & City line: no service.

TfL said that the above services rely on Network Rail signals so will be unable to operate during the strike.

On London Overground no services will run, except between Dalston Junction and New Cross/New Cross Gate, which will operate from 08.00 and 13.00 on Monday and 08.00 and 17.00 on Tuesday.

All operators are also warning of major disruption on Wednesday as services are expected to be much busier than usual.

Meanwhile last-ditch talks to halt strikes between Network Rail and the three unions (RMT, TSSA and Unite) have entered their fourth day. An Acas spokesman confirmed that they resumed this morning at 9am.

As talks wound down last night, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said. "RMT is continuing to push for a negotiated settlement through the Acas talks ‎and the union is available right the way through the weekend to keep that process going if necessary. 

“In the meantime our picketing arrangements are in place and the response coming back from our members is one of rock solid support.”

The legal challenge by Network Rail against the TSSA ballot is also listed to take place this afternoon in the High Court.

When announcing the move a Network Rail spokesperson said: “We have asked the TSSA to withdraw notice of their industrial action as we believe there are numerous defects in their ballot information.

“Network Rail has a responsibility to passengers, freight users and to the country as a whole to do everything we can to avert a strike.

“Talks with the unions continue and we hope to reach a settlement, but we must explore all avenues at our disposal and that includes legal ones.”

According to leaked Network Rail documents, seen by the Guardian, blocking the TSSA strike action could be vital in allowing more services to run. While the union’s membership is only a fraction of the RMT’s, Network Rail believes it can run around half the normal service to to Gatwick airport on Tuesday should the TSSA be prevented from striking. Otherwise, no trains would run to the airport.

The documents also show the potential affect strike action could have on freight. Network Rail is concerned business contracts could haemorrhage from railway to road if disruption continues, including mail services and freight links serving the UK’s major delivery hubs. The analysis shows even a 24-hour stoppage would have a critical impact on iron and could bring production to a halt at the Tata steelworks. 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

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