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Half of rail lines to be closed during strikes

·3-min read

Half of Britain’s rail lines will be closed during next week’s strikes, Network Rail said.

Network Rail said no passenger services will serve locations such as Penzance in Cornwall, Bournemouth in Dorset, Swansea in South Wales, Holyhead in North Wales, Chester in Cheshire and Blackpool, Lancashire.

There will also be no passenger trains running north from Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Lines likely to remain open during rail strike
(PA Graphics)

Open lines include the West Coast Main Line from London to Scotland via locations such as Birmingham and Manchester.

The strike days are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday next week.

The number of passenger services on those days is expected to be limited to around 4,500 compared with 20,000 normally.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at Network Rail and 13 train operators are to strike for three days next week in similar disputes over pay, jobs and pensions.

Lines will only be open between 7.30am and 6.30pm, meaning services will start later and finish earlier than usual.

Here are some examples of last trains from London on strike days:
– To Edinburgh: 2pm
– To Leeds: 3.05pm
– To Birmingham: 3.43pm
– To Cardiff: 4.27pm
– To Brighton: 5.50pm

Passengers “who must travel” are urged to “plan ahead” to ensure they can complete their journeys within this window, Network Rail said.

Last services from London to Scotland will leave in the early afternoon.

Steve Montgomery, who chairs industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said: “These strikes will affect the millions of people who use the train each day, including key workers, students with exams, those who cannot work from home, holidaymakers and those attending important business and leisure events.

“Working with Network Rail, our plan is to keep as many services running as possible, but significant disruption will be inevitable and some parts of the network will not have a service, so passengers should plan their journeys carefully and check their train times.”

Only around 12,000-14,000 services will be able to run on the days following the strikes.

This is because signallers and control staff will not work overnight shifts that begin on the strike dates.

That means trains will not be able to leave depots for up to four hours later than normal.

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said the strikes have been timed to cause “maximum disruption”.

Tim Shoveller, the organisation’s managing director for the North West and Central region, said: “The service that we can offer to passengers in the mornings is going to be very limited.

“Even on the intermediate days we won’t be able to operate anything like a full service with the normal amount of capacity or frequency of trains.

“That’s what gives rise to effectively six days of disruption.”

Train operator Northern urged passengers “not to travel” between Tuesday and Sunday.

Southeastern said its customers should “only travel by rail if necessary” on the three strike days.

TransPennine Express told passengers they should “only travel if journeys are essential” on strike days, adding that “services will also be affected on the days following the industrial action, particularly in the mornings”.

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