The finishing touches are being made to a special railway timetable that will be in operation across England, Scotland and Wales from Monday 20th to Sunday 26th June (inclusive). The special timetable, to be published on Friday, aims to offer the best service possible for passengers and freight users despite the unwarranted industrial action planned next week by the RMT union.
Thousands of specially trained and fully qualified back-up staff will step-in during the planned RMT walk-outs on 21st June, 23rd and 25th to keep vital services running, but as they are a fraction of the usual workforce, only a severely limited service will be available.
Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “Talks have not progressed as far as I had hoped and so we must prepare for a needless national rail strike and the damaging impact it will have. We, and our train operating colleagues, are gearing up to run the best service we can for passengers and freight users next week despite the actions of the RMT.”
Only around half of Britain’s rail network will be open on strike days with a very limited service running on lines that will only be open from around 7.30am until 6.30pm.
Passengers who must travel are urged to plan ahead to ensure that they can complete their journeys within this window, with last services from London to Scotland, for example, leaving in the early afternoon.
Steve Montgomery, Chair of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “These strikes will affect the millions of people who use the train each day, including key workers, students with exams, those who cannot work from home, holidaymakers and those attending important business and leisure events.
“Working with Network Rail, our plan is to keep as many services running as possible, but significant disruption will be inevitable and some parts of the network will not have a service, so passengers should plan their journeys carefully and check their train times.
“Taxpayers have provided the equivalent of about £600 per household since covid and passenger numbers are still only at around 75% of pre pandemic levels. We need to bring rail up to date so that we attract more people back and take no more than our fair share from the public purse.
“We ask the RMT’s leadership to call off these damaging strikes and continue talks to reach a deal that is fair to staff and taxpayers, and which secures a bright, long-term future of our railways.”
On the days that follow the strikes (22nd, 24th and 26th June) the whole network will reopen but passengers should also expect disruption on these days as the strike days chosen have been designed to inflict as much disruption as possible, with not enough time between the strike days to fully recover to a normal service.
Further information for passengers is available on the National Rail website.
The special timetable will also ensure key freight services can continue to move around the country, minimising disruption for consumers and businesses and allowing vital goods to continue to be shipped where needed.
Photo credit: Network Rail