Train strikes latest LIVE: Last trains leave London as strike causes major travel misery

Commuters in London are battling a second consecutive day of travel disruption as tens of thousands of workers at Network Rail and train operators continue the first of two 48-hour walkouts this week.

Across the country around half of railway lines are closed and only a fifth of services are running as the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) continues its industrial action crippling the transport network.

Train drivers in the Aslef union will strike on Thursday before a second two-day RMT strike begins on Friday.

In London, Wednesday’s strike is affecting the Elizabeth Line which is running a severely delayed service between Paddington and Reading/Heathrow, and between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

The walkout was also hitting the London Underground on Wednesday morning with several services partly suspended, including the Bakerloo and District lines. The London Overground is operating a reduced service until 6.30pm.

Some of the worst disruption was on the Circle Line, which at 11.25am was said by TfL to be “suspended due to train cancellations”.

Meanwhile, operator South Western Railway is advising travellers to avoid the last trains out of London Waterloo during Wednesday’s evening rush hour as they are likely to be “very busy”.

Technology company TomTom said traffic congestion in London increased from 22% to 27% at 8am on Tuesday compared with the first working day of 2022.

Passenger footfall was down 84% on Tuesday compared with the average Tuesday, data from 20 Network Rail managed stations shows.

The new leader of the TUC on Wednesday called for an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister in a bid to break deadlocked industrial disputes across the country.

Paul Nowak called for a change in government direction, saying ministers should open pay negotiations with unions.

In a letter to Rishi Sunak, Mr Nowak said public services were in crisis after years of "underfunding and understaffing".

It comes after a poll suggested more Britons now oppose the rail strikes than those who back them.

Acording to the YouGov poll, less than half of the public back industrial action on the railways (43%).

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Wednesday 4 January 2023 21:08 , Daniel Keane

That’s the end of our live coverage for today, thank you for following.

Train drivers ‘treated with contempt, claims union leader

Wednesday 4 January 2023 19:26 , Daniel Keane

A union leader has claimed that train drivers have been “treated with contempt” as they prepare to take strike action tomorrow.

Mick Whelan, leader of Aslef, told the Guardian that the Government have “trapped themselves into a cycle of dysfunction, they’re battling on so many fronts – from the civil service to the NHS, the fire brigade and lecturers, the driving examiners to the railway – they don’t dare offer a reasonable way out because of the domino effect it will have elsewhere”.

He added: “We don’t work for the government, we work for employers like First Group who don’t factor in pay rises before they decide to pay dividends to shareholders.”

Watch: Commuters face chaos as strikes to continue for most of January

Wednesday 4 January 2023 18:52 , Daniel Keane

Operators warn passengers of reduced schedule after final services depart

Wednesday 4 January 2023 18:21 , Daniel Keane

Britain’s train operators have reminded customers that the last train services of the day have recentely departed.

“Some services will finish earlier than usual so please check the times of the last trains carefully before you travel,” tweeted GWR.

It told passengers to the final train between Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads departed at 16.33, with the last Paddington to Plymouth service having departed at 14.32.

Union dismisses reports of 3% pay offer

Wednesday 4 January 2023 17:34 , Daniel Keane

The train drivers’ union Aslef has dismissed reports that a pay offer of around £2,000 would be accepted by its members.

Mick Whelan, the general secretary of Aslef, said a possible £2,000 rise reported in the Sun “would not fly” with the union’s members ahead of strike action tomorrow.

He said: “Inflation was running this year at 14 per cent, we’ve had no pay rise for the previous two years, and they want industry reform for 3 per cent – I don’t think that will fly with my members.”

The Aslef strikes tomorrow will affect 15 train operators and come between two days of industrial action staged by the RMT.

My door is always open for dialogue with unions, says Sunak

Wednesday 4 January 2023 17:02 , Daniel Keane

Rishi Sunak has said his door is “always open for dialogue” with unions as rail strikes continued on Wednesday - with further nursing strikes looming later this month.

He told reporters: "We want to have good, two-way, open, honest conversations - those have to be rooted in what's reasonable, what's affordable, what's responsible for the country. I'm keen to have those conversations.

"As I've said on pay, those conversations need to be based on what's affordable. I think a 19% pay rise is not affordable - I don't think anyone thinks a 19% pay rise is affordable.

"But that doesn't mean we shouldn't have dialogue, shouldn't have conversations."

Which train operators are affected by strike action?

Wednesday 4 January 2023 16:03 , Daniel Keane

The following operators are currently affected by strike action:

- LNER

- Northern trains

- Avanti West Coast

- Southeastern

- Cross Country

- Chiltern Railways

- Greater Anglia

- Govia Thameslink (plus Gatwick Express)

- London Underground

- West Midlands Trains (plus London Northwestern Railway)

- Great Western Railway

- Transpennine Express

UK Amazon workers to stage first ever strike

Wednesday 4 January 2023 15:46 , Daniel Keane

The first ever strike by UK workers at online giant Amazon is to be held later this month, it has been announced.

Members of the GMB union based at a Coventry warehouse will walk out on January 25 in a dispute over pay after voting in favour of taking industrial action.

Amanda Gearing, GMB senior organiser, said: "Amazon workers in Coventry are set to make history on January 25, becoming the first ever Amazon workers in the UK to go on strike.

"They've shown they're willing to put themselves on the line to fight for what's right.

"But people working for one of the most valuable companies in the world shouldn't have to threaten strike action just to win a wage they can live on.

"GMB urges Amazon UK bosses to give workers a proper pay rise and avoid industrial action."

Sunak: We need ‘reasonable dialogue’ with unions

Wednesday 4 January 2023 14:22 , Josh Salisbury

Rishi Sunak has called for a “reasonable dialogue” with striking unions in a speech in east London.

In a billed New Year’s speech, Mr Sunak said of a string of strikes: “We hugely value public sector workers like nurses.

“They do incredibly important work and that's why we want a reasonable dialogue with the unions about what's responsible and fair for our country. And in the coming days, we will update you on the Government's next steps."

Circle line suspended in strike knock-on effect but stations open

Wednesday 4 January 2023 13:46 , Josh Salisbury

The Circle line remains supended afterTfL drivers had difficulty getting into work using national rail trains, TfL has said.

While the Circle isn’t running, those stations are being served by the District and Hammersmith and City lines.

“To ensure we’re running as good a service as possible across the network, we’ve suspended the Circle line which means the Hammersmith & City line is running a full service,” said TfL.

“This means all Circle line stations are still open and still served by H&C/District line trains.”

Labour MP backs strikers in Liverpool

Wednesday 4 January 2023 12:38 , Barney Davis

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Mick Lynch says strikers have allowed public respite

Wednesday 4 January 2023 12:36 , Barney Davis

The RMT boss was speaking to LBC’s James O’Brien and answering calls from the public to say the union had only been on strike for 16-19 days over the last six months to allow members to rest.

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Solution to rail strikes must be found, says commuter railway boss

Wednesday 4 January 2023 11:45 , Josh Salisbury

The boss of one of London’s busiest commuter railways has warned that a solution to the rail strikes has to be found “sooner rather than later” and that the industry cannot take passengers for granted.

Steve White, managing director of Southeastern, said he had been inundated with tweets and emails from passengers complaining that they were unable to get to work due to five consecutive days of action by the RMT and Aslef unions this week.

Southeastern carries about 10 million passengers a month in and out of Charing Cross, London Bridge and Cannon Street but on Wednesday was only able to run a limited service for the second successive day, with last trains leaving London by 6pm.

Thursday’s action by Aslef is likely to bring virtually the entire network to a standstill. Southeastern, Thameslink and Southern are among the firms to say that no trains will run.

Read our full story here.

Pictured: Empty platforms at Stratford station

Wednesday 4 January 2023 11:08 , Josh Salisbury

 (PA)
(PA)

Government cannot afford rail pay rises, says Tory MP

Wednesday 4 January 2023 09:51 , Josh Salisbury

Conservative MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said the Government cannot afford to give rail workers an “inflation-busting pay increase".

He told TalkTV: “What we cannot afford... is to give rail workers an inflation-busting pay increase of 10% or more."

He added that people on the lowest incomes have been given a "substantial package" and that more money will be available to them in the next week or so.

Asked about a potential meeting between Rishi Sunak and unions, Mr Clifton-Brown said: "I think the Prime Minister will be weighing this carefully up to see whether his intervention would actually bring about a breakthrough."

Piccadilly Line users hit with severe delays after signal failure amid strikes chaos

Wednesday 4 January 2023 09:40 , Josh Salisbury

Commuters have vented their anger as a signal failure caused the Piccadilly Line to come to a near standstill amid the strikes chaos.

Tube passengers have been hit with disruption across a number of lines early Wednesday due to a 48-hour rail strike.

But in addition, a signal failure in the Green Park area caused severe delays across the entire Piccadilly line, adding a fresh headache for commuters.

One commuter caught up in the disruption, Ewan, said: “Why does the Piccadilly Line never work. Useless.”

 (TfL)
(TfL)

Pictured: Picket line at Euston

Wednesday 4 January 2023 08:29 , Josh Salisbury

Mick Lynch, the boss of the RMT union leading the strike has arrived at a picket line at Euston station for the second day of industrial action.

 (PA)
(PA)
 (PA)
(PA)

‘Ministers need to negotiate’, says union leader

Wednesday 4 January 2023 08:14 , Josh Salisbury

Paul Nowak, of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), has called for ministers to open pay negotiations with unions amid the rail strikes.

In a letter to Rishi Sunak, Mr Nowak said public services were in crisis after years of "underfunding and understaffing".

He wrote: "We can't solve these problems without a fair deal for the people on the frontline.

"Every month experienced employees are quitting, with one in three public service staff now taking steps to leave their professions or actively considering it.

"This is simply unsustainable. But we cannot fix the staffing crisis in our schools, hospitals and elsewhere if we do not fix the underlying causes.

"That means talking in an open and constructive way about improving public sector pay. But so far your ministers have refused to negotiate directly about pay with unions."

Which train operating companies are affected by today’s strike?

Wednesday 4 January 2023 07:51 , Josh Salisbury

The RMT’s walkout for the second day in the 48-hour strike affects the following train operating companies:

- LNER

- Northern trains

- Avanti West Coast

- Southeastern

- Cross Country

- Chiltern Railways

- Greater Anglia

- Govia Thameslink and Gatwick Express)

- London Underground

- West Midlands Trains (plus London Northwestern Railway)

- Great Western Railway

- Transpennine Express

Which TfL services are disrupted by the strike?

Wednesday 4 January 2023 07:23 , Josh Salisbury

The following lines are disrupted due to strike action:

Bakerloo - No service between Queen's Park and Harrow & Wealdstone due to strike action.

Circle - Severe delays in the clockwise direction due to strike action, and minor delays anti-clockwise.

District - No service between Turnham Green and Richmond and severe delays between Earl's Court and Wimbledon due to strike action.

Elizabeth line - No service between Paddington and Reading / Heathrow Terminals and between Liverpool Street and Shenfield due to strike action.

Hammersmith and City - Minor delays due to strike action.

London Overground - No service on any London Overground route due to strike action.

Meanwhile these lines are also experiencing disruption due to non-strike reasons:

Central - Minor delays due to train cancellations.

DLR - Minor delays between Bank / Tower Gate and Lewisham / Canning Town due to an earlier faulty train at Bank.

Piccadilly - No service between Hyde Park Corner and King's Cross, eastbound only and severe delays on the rest of the line over a signal failure in the Green Park area.

London road traffic up amid strikes

Wednesday 4 January 2023 07:10 , Josh Salisbury

Traffic congestion on London roads has increased as people take to cars to get around during the RMT’s walkout.

Technology company TomTom said traffic congestion in London increased from 22% to 27% at 8am on Tuesday compared with the first working day of 2022.

Meanwhile at stations, passenger footfall was down 84% on Tuesday compared with the average Tuesday, data from 20 Network Rail managed stations shows.

More Brits now oppose rail strikes than oppose - poll

Wednesday 4 January 2023 07:00 , Josh Salisbury

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the second day of the RMT’s train strikes.

More Brits now oppose the rail strikes than support them, according to a new poll by YouGov.

45% say they oppose the walkouts, while 43% say they support them, the poll suggests.

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