The rail industry is in the process of finalising another special ‘strike day’ timetable for next Wednesday (27th July) ahead of a fourth day of national strike action called by the leadership of the RMT that will again bring unnecessary and entirely avoidable disruption for passengers.
Thousands of specially-trained and fully qualified back-up staff will again step in during the walkout to keep vital services running for those who need them. As only around 20% of services will run across only around 50% of the network, passengers are advised to only travel by train if they must, and if it is necessary, allow extra time and check when their last train will depart.
Passengers with an advance, off peak or anytime ticket who have bought a ticket on a strike day can use it for travel the day before, or up to and including Tuesday 2 August. Passengers can also change their tickets to travel on an alternate date, or get a refund if their train is cancelled or rescheduled.
Passengers with a season ticket that is monthly or longer, or have an activated days’ worth of travel on a flexi season ticket, who choose not to travel on 27 or 30 July can claim compensation for these days through the delay repay scheme. Further information is on the National Rail website.
Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “Despite our best efforts to find a breakthrough, I’m afraid there will be more disruption for passengers next week as the RMT seems hell-bent on continuing their political campaigning, rather than compromising and agreeing a deal for their members.
“I can only apologise for the impact this pointless strike will have on passengers, especially those travelling for holidays or attending events such as the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 semi-final (Wednesday 27th) and the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games (Thursday 28th). It is frustrating to yet again ask our passengers to change their plans and only make essential journeys.”
Only around half of Britain’s rail network will be open on 27 July, with a very limited service running on lines that will only be open from around 7.30am until 6.30pm. Passengers who must travel are urged to plan ahead to ensure that they can complete their journeys within this window, with last services from London to Scotland, for example, leaving in the early afternoon.
Passengers should also expect disruption on the morning of Thursday 28 July with a later start to services as employees return to duties.
Steve Montgomery, Chair of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “We are incredibly disappointed that the RMT and Aslef leadership are continuing with this action, disrupting the summer plans of millions – including those attending the Commonwealth Games.
“While we will do all that we can to minimise disruption to passengers, our advice is to only travel if it is necessary, and if you are going to travel, please plan ahead. If you’re not able to travel, you can use your ticket either the day before or up to and including 2 August, otherwise you will be able to change your ticket or claim a refund.
“We have a responsibility to bring our railway up to date and give our passengers a more punctual and reliable service so that we’re able to give our staff the pay rise they deserve. But it is wrong to continue asking taxpayers to shoulder more of the burden when they have already contributed £600 per household during the pandemic, or to expect passengers to fund it by paying more for their tickets, when they too are feeling the pinch.
“We ask the RMT and Aslef’s leadership to continue talking so we can come to a deal that works for our people, our passengers and for taxpayers.”
Separately, Aslef has called strike action across eight train operators on Saturday 30 July that will significantly disrupt some routes, and there will also be a 24-hour strike by Aslef members on the Greater Anglia network on Saturday 23rd July. Passengers are asked to check their journeys before travelling on both of these dates.