Quiet train station, via Istock

Mass disruption as crippling rail strikes continue

The constant industrial action continues to plague the UK rail sector as strikes continue today in the form of a 24-hour walkout due to the ongoing dispute over pay and working conditions. This has meant that train operators such as Northern, Avanti West Coast and Southeastern will see no services running today.

Other services across the country are running, however only with a limited timetable, leading to the rail industry warning passengers of disrupted journeys once again and, in some instances, complete closure to some stations. Updated timetables are currently available through journey planners, with key details as the strikes progress.

Today’s industrial action differs from the RMT strikes, as only the train companies involved with the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (Aslef) are affected, whereas the RMT portion of the strike pie also involves Network Rail signallers, leading to mass disruptions nationwide.

Though today’s strikes are being conducted in accordance with Aslef, the disruptions are expected to be crippling to many across the country as 13 train companies are participating. These companies are listed below:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • Chiltern Railways
  • CrossCountry
  • East Midlands Railway
  • Greater Anglia (including Stansted Express)
  • Great Western Railway
  • Hull Trains
  • LNER
  • London Overground
  • Northern Trains
  • Southeastern
  • Transpennine Express
  • West Midlands Trains

To ease the financial burden of those who have bought tickets for today, operators are allowing Wednesday tickets to be useable on Thursday or Friday. This accommodating effort shows care for the passengers, however the longer these strikes go on for, the more likely they could have a detrimental consequence towards the sector's public image. 

Daniel Mann, the director of industry operations at the Rail Delivery Group, said:

 “These strikes disrupt the travel plans of millions of passengers and undermine businesses who continue to struggle with rising costs, and this continued action will only further damage the railway’s recovery.

Hopes for a rapid solution to this issue should not be too high though, as the Government and Unions appear to be engaging in a large-scale tit for tat, highlighted by the timing of this strike being concurrent with the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.

Conservative MP Michael Fabricant addressed this scheduling conflict, tweeting:

“Everyone I know from outside the West Midlands is leaving conference tomorrow [Tuesday] night because of the train strike on Wednesday. So, if the PM’s speech is not packed out on Wednesday morning, you know why.”

As we are plunged into a cost-of-living crisis, whilst still attempting to achieve pre-pandemic travel numbers, people need a semblance of stability in knowing they can get to work and pay their bills this winter. Unions and the current Government must work cohesively at all costs to put an end to this ordeal, or we risk major damage to industry progression.

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