Travellers warned over disruption ahead of fresh wave of railway strikes

Passengers are being urged to only travel by rail if necessary during a fresh wave of strikes in the long running dispute over jobs, pay and conditions.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) are taking industrial action again, threatening more travel chaos across the country.

Rail companies are warning that only about one in five services will run on November 5, 7 and 9 while in some areas there will be no trains.

A special timetable will be published next week but passengers are being told that trains will start later and finish much earlier than usual on strike days.

There is likely to be some disruption in the early morning of the day after each strike: Sunday 6 November 6, Tuesday November 8, and Thursday November 10 – as workers return to duties.

The strikes will affect the following train operators: Great Western Railway, Avanti West Coast, South Western Railway, Chiltern Railways, Cross Country Trains, Greater Anglia, LNER, East Midlands Railway, c2c, Northern Trains, South Eastern, Transpennine Express, West Midlands Trains and GTR (including Gatwick Express).

On November 5, there will be no London North Eastern Railway (LNER) services running due to a combination of industrial action and engineering work. London Underground and Overground services will also be disrupted on Thursday November 10 due to industrial action.

Passengers traveling to Cardiff for the Wales v New Zealand rugby match on Saturday November 5, are advised not to travel by train to and from the match as the RMT and TSSA strikes will see most trains across the Wales and Borders network suspended.

Rail strikes
Most railway stations will be deserted, or see very see very limited services, on the strike days (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “A fair and affordable two-year 8% deal, with heavily discounted travel and an improved offer of job security to January 2025, remains on the table and our team have had extensive conversations with RMT representatives around the terms of a deal.

“Unfortunately, the unions seem to believe the taxpayer should fund bigger pay rises and are more intent on more damaging strikes than working with us to compromise and agree a deal.

“That means there will be even more disruption for passengers over the next couple of weeks, starting next Saturday (November 5), when we will again have to ask passengers to only travel if absolutely necessary.

“These strikes undermine the railway’s recovery from the pandemic and drive passengers away at a time when everyone involved in the railway should be focused on attracting more passengers and freight forwarders to the network, at the same time as building a railway fit for the future.

Rail Strikes
Travellers have bene warned of major disruption on the railway network (Victoria Jones/PA)

“We urge the unions to either allow their members to vote on our offer or come to the negotiating table with a genuine willingness to compromise and help find solutions to the challenges our industry is facing.”

Steve Montgomery, chair of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “We’re sorry that a decision was taken by the RMT leadership to impose further strike action which will bring widespread disruption for passengers and businesses, especially affecting families planning to attend the bonfire night celebrations.

“It is particularly disheartening that next weekend’s strike will hit the plans of thousands of rugby fans who are planning to travel to Cardiff for Wales v New Zealand.

“These damaging and unnecessary strikes not only disrupt passengers’ plans and undermine struggling businesses, but also harm the industry’s recovery with the June strikes costing the hospitality sector around half a billion pounds.

“Further strikes mean that more of our people lose pay and there is less money to fund a pay rise.

“We urge the unions to recognise that the railway industry is facing very real financial challenge, and work with us towards a fair deal that offers a pay rise and includes the long-overdue changes to the industry so that our services are more reliable, more affordable and inspire more passengers back on board.

“While we will do all that we can to minimise disruption, if you are going to travel on the routes affected, please plan ahead and check the latest travel advice.

“Passengers with advance, off-peak or anytime tickets affected by the strikes can use their ticket for travel the day before the date on the ticket or up to and including Friday November 11.

“Passengers can also change their tickets to travel on an alternate date or get a refund if their train is cancelled or rescheduled.”