Fury as Bank Holiday train strikes cripple Britain: Rail network will come to a halt ruining families’ plans and leaving tens of thousands unable to get to Notting Hill Carnival and Creamfields and Reading Festivals
- *Have you been affected by the rail strikes? Email [email protected]
Brits have been left fuming at a ‘cynically’ timed train strike that will cripple the network over the August Bank Holiday weekend – leaving tens of thousands unable to travel over one of the year’s busiest periods for sporting and cultural events.
RMT members will walk out on Saturday, August 26 and Saturday, September 2 as part of an ongoing dispute over pay, jobs and conditions. ASLEF members will strike on Friday, September 1 followed by an overtime ban on September 2.
This weekend’s RMT action will disrupt a huge swathe of major events including the Notting Hill Carnival, Manchester Pride, the York Races, England’s Rugby World Cup warm-up game against Fiji, and Leeds, Reading, Creamfields and Victorious festivals.
Away fans travelling to dozens of football matches will also suffer disruption, with Premier League fixtures on Saturday including Bournemouth v Tottenham and Brighton v West Ham.
While National Rail had been warning services might not run, many providers were still selling tickets – leaving passengers with ones they now cannot use.
Strikes cause disruption to timetables both before and after the day of the walkout as trains and drivers move away from their planned positions – meaning services will also be affected on Friday and Sunday.
*Have you been affected by the rail strikes? Email [email protected]
London’s Notting Hill Carnival, the largest street carnival in Europe, returns to the capital after a break due to the Covid pandemic
Rail customers describe the impact of the strike on their Bank Holiday plans
The 14 train operating companies affected by this Saturday’s RMT strikes are: Chiltern Railways, Cross Country Trains, Greater Anglia, LNER, East Midlands Railway, c2c, Great Western Railway, Northern Trains, South Eastern, South Western Railway, Transpennine Express, Avanti West Coast, West Midlands Trains and GTR, including Gatwick Express.
Today, Great Western Railways has reminded Reading Festival goers that there will be no trains home on Saturday night as strike action returns.
Meanwhile, it emerged yesterday that less than half of the tickets for England’s match against Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday had been sold, raising the prospect of it taking place before swathes of empty seats.
As revealed by Mail Sport earlier this month, the RFU are struggling with ticket sales for the fixture, and with just days to go until the fixture the situation hasn’t improved, with less than half of the 82,000 available tickets sold.
Passengers took to Twitter to complain about the disruption, with one branding them ‘selfish and self-defeating’.
Meanwhile, motorists are being warned over long delays on major routes as more than 14 million bank holiday getaway journeys by car are expected to take place this weekend.
While National Rail had been warning services might not run, many providers were still selling tickets – leaving passengers with ones they now cannot use
Strikes cause disruption to timetables both before and after the day of the walkout as trains and drivers move away from their planned positions – meaning services will also be affected on Friday and Sunday
A survey commissioned by the RAC suggested that around 14.4 million leisure trips by car are planned for between Friday and Monday, which is the last bank holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland until Christmas Day.
This is 1.8 million more than during last year’s summer bank holiday weekend.
A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said staff were offered a 13% pay rise which was ‘blocked without a convincing explanation’ by the RMT executive.
‘With further strike action the RMT are once again targeting customers looking to enjoy various sporting events, festivals, and the end of the summer holidays, disrupting their plans and forcing more cars onto the road,’ the spokesperson said.
‘We have now made three offers, the latest of which would have given staff pay rises of up to 13% as well as job security guarantees and the RMT executive have blocked this without a convincing explanation.
‘We remain open to talks and we have said repeatedly that we want to give our people a pay rise, but until the union leadership and executive is united in what it wants and engages in good faith with the 30% shortfall in revenue the industry is continuing to grapple with post-Covid, it is difficult to move forward.
‘Unfortunately, the repercussion of this impasse affects our staff, customers, and the communities across the country that rely on the railway.’
A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said rail staff were offered a 13% pay rise which was ‘blocked without a convincing explanation’ by the RMT executive. File photo of train passengers
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: ‘The RMT leadership’s decision to call more strikes and cynically target the travelling public over the bank holiday weekend is disappointing. The government has facilitated fair and reasonable pay offers.
‘However, union bosses are opting to prolong this dispute by blocking their members from having a vote on these offers. We continue to urge that members are given their say and disruption is brought to an end.’
In addition to disruption from the latest RMT strike on Saturday, train services will be affected by Network Rail carrying out around 500 projects across Britain’s railways over the long weekend.
The busiest station affected is London Euston, where services will be limited from 8pm on Saturday until Tuesday due to track renewals and signalling upgrades.
No trains will serve London Charing Cross or Waterloo East on Saturday or Sunday, while buses and coaches will replace trains on the East Coast Main Line between Grantham, Royston and Potters Bar/Hertford North from late Saturday until the early hours of Monday.
Jake Kelly, Network Rail’s system operator director, said: ‘As always, we’ve carefully planned our engineering work to ensure the vast majority of the railway will be open for business as usual this bank holiday, so passengers can rely on the railway to get them where they need to be as they make the most of the long weekend.
‘Disruptions to journeys on some routes is unavoidable when carrying out certain pieces of work however, so please make sure to check with National Rail Enquiries or your train operator before you travel.’
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