The ongoing rail strikes are continuing to cause disruptions and mass delays around the UK, as commuters try to navigate around the chaos. Rail industry leaders and operators are reminding passengers to only utilise the rail services, if necessary, over the weekend. With the next day of industrial action set for Saturday the 25th June, there will continue to be severely reduced train services across the country.
It is currently estimated that only 20% of the regular services will be available, so passengers are being urged to plan ahead before travelling throughout the weekend. The train services are set to start later in the morning at 7.30am and culminating at 6.30pm on the day of the strike.
Though the full rail network will be open on Sunday the 26th June, disruptions are still to be expected due to overnight signaller walk outs. These will hamper the ability to ensure the trains are in their correct places to begin services after the previous days industrial action.
Steve Montgomery, Chair of the Rail Delivery Group, said:
“We are very disappointed that the RMT leadership has decided to continue with tomorrow’s strike, and the union leadership has chosen to take action which will severely inconvenience the millions of people who had plans over the weekend.
“While we are doing our best to minimise disruption to passengers, our advice is to only travel if it necessary, and if you are going to travel, please plan ahead. If you’re not able to travel, you can use your ticket either the day before or up to two days after the strike, otherwise you will be able to claim a refund.
“Two years after Covid struck there has been a huge change in how we use the railways, with fewer people commuting and more people travelling at weekends. The RMT leadership must work with us to bring outdated working practices, such as voluntary working only on a Sunday, out of the past so that we can adapt to changing travel patterns, take no more than our fair share from the taxpayer and achieve a pay offer that works for our people.”
Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail, said:
“Unfortunately, the RMT’s decision to carry out another day of needless and premature strike action means our passengers will suffer again on Saturday.
"A fraction of trains will run compared to a usual Saturday service, with trains starting later in the morning and finishing much earlier in the evening. I am really sorry to our passengers for the inevitable disruption to their journeys and their weekend.
“For anyone who needs to travel, please plan your journey carefully and check before setting off.
“We remain at the table and ready for talks, day or night, and will do everything we can to avoid further disruption for our passengers."
If passengers are determined to travel and are facing cancellations, their ticket can be used for travelling the before or up to two days after the strike activity has ended. If these options are not able to fit within their schedules, full refunds will be available from their ticket provider.
Passengers with a season ticket that is monthly or longer, or have an activated days’ worth of travel on a flexi season ticket and they choose not to travel on 25 June, they can claim 100% compensation for these days through the delay repay scheme. Further information is on the National Rail website.
Due to the issues surrounding rail line capacity, a revised timetable has been implemented that prioritises the key freight routes to ensure that vital haulage movements can be completed. These can include fuel transportation, supermarket supplies and other goods.
The duration and disruption of the strike action this week is estimated to have racked up costs for the industry of around £150m in lost revenue associated with the forced aborting of upgrade works. As the industry is trying to recover post pandemic restrictions, the wastage of that money negatively affects the taxpayers’ contributions as well as removing potential funding that could have gone towards funding employee pay increases.