Rail strikes to hit thousands of racegoers heading to Ebor Festival in York

·2-min read
Racegoers at a previous Ebor Festival, left and bottom right. Pictures: PA. Top right, York Station during an earlier train strike
Racegoers at a previous Ebor Festival, left and bottom right. Pictures: PA. Top right, York Station during an earlier train strike

One of the biggest dates in the York racing calendar is to be affected by the latest round of rail strikes.

The Sky Bet Ebor Festival will be held at York Racecourse from Wednesday, August 17, to Saturday, August 20.

But the RMT trades union - which staged industrial action in June and July in a dispute over over pay, pensions, and working conditions - is planning more strikes on Thursday, August 18 and Saturday, August 20.

The fresh strike dates will hit the travel plans of thousands of racegoers.

The Thursday strike action will also coincide with Ladies’ Day at Ebor - one of the big social events of the racing year.

The rail operators which run services through York station and are affected by the RMT strikes include LNER, Northern Trains, Transpennine Express and CrossCountry Trains.

However, a spokesperson for York Racecourse said there were options for racegoers planning to attend Ebor.

He said: “The scheduled national rail strikes are an inconvenience and so it is disappointing that the two sides are yet to reach a resolution.

“At no cost, it will be possible for vehicles to be left overnight in the car parks, at the owner’s risk, provided they are collected before 11am the next day.

“The coach connections to York are strong and will link with the frequent shuttle bus services at the rail station. York and the surrounding area benefits from a good supply of hotel rooms for those who might decide this is the prompt to extend their visit to the city and travel home the next day.

“The richest race of the four days is run on Wednesday when there is no strike, so sports fans can make plans to see the world’s highest rated horse, Baaeed, who is entered in the Juddmonte International.”

The spokesperson added: “With Friday also clear of this particular challenge, then an early start to their weekend and a chance to say farewell to the mighty stayer, Stradivarius, has proven popular.”

Mickey Thompson, of RMT North East, said following earlier strike action that it had been “well supported by the public”, and that the union was “determined to continue the fight as jobs are at risk”.

He said at the time: “Following the previous strikes, operators tried to negotiate an eight per cent pay rise over three years, but this is conditional to job losses, and we have rejected this.

“It’s going to be a fight, the government are hell-bent and not changing their minds and we continue to work towards a more efficient resolution.”