The rail industry is reminding passengers to only travel if absolutely necessary on Saturday, as the publication of the reduced timetable confirms just 11% of rail services will be in operation amid coordinated strike action by the RMT, TSSA and Aslef unions.
As was the case for ‘strike days’ in June, July and August, thousands of specially-trained and fully qualified back-up staff will step in during the walkouts to keep vital services running for those who need them. But, given that this is the first time the RMT, Aslef and TSSA have walked out on the same day, services will be even more significantly disrupted.
Trains will start later in the morning and finishing much earlier in the evening, and there will be no trains at all across large parts of the network. Unlike previous strike days, this Saturday there will be no trains between London and a number of other major UK cities – including Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Newcastle, Brighton and Norwich.
Those passengers who must travel – including those looking to participate in or watch the London Marathon – are advised to plan ahead and check when their last train will depart.
Passengers are also advised that there is likely to be some disruption in the early morning of Sunday 2 October as workers return to duties.
Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “Despite our best efforts to compromise and find a breakthrough in talks, rail unions remain intent on continuing and coordinating their strike action. This serves only to ensure our staff forgo even more of their pay unnecessarily, as well as causing even more disruption for our passengers and further damaging the railway’s recovery from the pandemic.
“Passengers who want to travel this Saturday, and indeed next Wednesday and next Saturday, are asked only to do so if absolutely necessary. Those who must travel should expect disruption and make sure they check when their last train will depart.”
Daniel Mann, Director of Industry Operations at Rail Delivery Group, said: “These strikes are unnecessary and damaging. They disrupt passengers’ plans, undermine struggling businesses, hit major events and harm the industry’s recovery. It is particularly disheartening that this weekend’s strike will hit the plans of thousands of runners who have trained for months to take part in the iconic London Marathon. That will also punish the many charities, large and small, who depend on sponsorship money raised by such events to support the most vulnerable in our community.
“While we have done all we can to keep some services running, passengers should only travel by rail if absolutely necessary. Passengers with advance, off-peak or anytime tickets affected by the strikes on 1 October can use their ticket on the day before the booked date, or up to and including 4 October. Passengers can also change their tickets to travel on an alternate date or get a refund if their train is cancelled or rescheduled.”
Strike action next week
A walkout by train drivers across 14 operators on Wednesday 5 October will also mean disruption for passengers on those routes. The operators impacted are Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Greater Anglia, Great Western Railway, Heathrow Express, Hull Trains, LNER, London Overground, Northern Trains, Southeastern, TransPennine Express and West Midlands Trains.
The RMT’s second strike – on Saturday 8 October – will also see a reduced rail service in operation.
For customers booked to travel on 5 October, the same flexibility applies on the day before the strike and they can use their tickets up to and including 7 October.
Passengers with a season ticket or who have an activated days’ worth of travel on a flexi season ticket who choose not to travel on 1 or 5 October, can claim compensation for these days through the delay repay scheme. Weekly Season Ticket holders can also claim through Delay Repay if their train is delayed or cancelled on the day, or a ‘Do Not Travel’ warning is in place.
People who need to travel on strike days and already have a ticket should check with their train operator before they travel for advice on the flexibility of their ticket.
Passengers can also check on National Rail Enquiries or their rail operator’s website to see if their operator is affected by this industrial action.
Photo credit: Network Rail