Rail passengers warned of ‘significantly reduced’ timetable due to strike action
RAIL passengers faced fresh travel misery on Saturday because of a strike which hit services on some of the busiest routes in the country.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on Avanti West Coast walked out for 24 hours in a row over rosters.
The company advised passengers to check before they travel, warning of a “significantly reduced“ timetable during limited operating hours.
Avanti West Coast will run one train an hour from London Euston to each of Manchester, Glasgow, and Liverpool, with services to Liverpool going via the West Midlands (including calls at Coventry, Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton) due to planned upgrade work by Network Rail between Rugby and Stafford.
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The first train of the day left Euston just before 7.30am and the last train of the day from Euston will depart mid-afternoon.
The major upgrade work will also mean services to some destinations will have longer journey times, as trains are diverted.
The significantly reduced timetable means North Wales, Shrewsbury, Chester, Blackpool and Edinburgh will have no Avanti West Coast services.
The train managers involved in the dispute will also strike on November 6.
Barry Milsom, executive director of Operations and Safety at Avanti West Coast said: “We’re disappointed by the RMT’s decision to go on strike this Saturday and again on November 6.
“Our customers are facing another weekend of disruption and I would like to thank them for their continued patience and understanding.
“We all need to be working together for the long-term benefit of our people and customers.
“So, we ask RMT to engage in meaningful industry reform talks around modernising working practices and developing a railway fit for the 21st century.”
The RMT said staff were suffering “dreadfully low morale” and were feeling “completely neglected” as the company increases services after being criticised for reducing its timetable in the summer.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Avanti continue to be totally unreasonable in negotiations and seem incapable of taking responsibility for the mess they have caused.
“They show little concern for the health and safety of our members as some of their rostering proposals would lead to unacceptable levels of fatigue amongst train managers.
“This strike is the end result of months of neglect and the only way our train managers feel they can voice their concerns.
“Avanti should never have been given any extension to their franchise contract for all the chaos they have caused the travelling public.
“We remain open for meaningful talks to resolve the dispute but be in no doubt our industrial campaign will continue for as long as it takes.”