Some parts of the country will have no train services during the next strike by thousands of rail workers, passengers are being warned.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at train companies across England, and Network Rail, will walk out for 24 hours on Wednesday July 27 in the bitter row over pay, jobs and conditions.
The strike will affect passengers travelling for holidays or attending events such as the women’s Euro 2022 semi-final in Milton Keynes on July 27, and the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham the following day.
Network Rail (NR) said a “very limited” timetable will be available across the country on the strike day, with around 20% of services running and some parts of the country with no rail services.
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
Andrew Haines, Network Rail
Special timetables will be published this Saturday but NR said trains will start later and finish much earlier than usual, and it told passengers to expect disruption and only travel if necessary.
It will be the fourth day of RMT strikes, which NR said will again bring “unnecessary and entirely avoidable” disruption for passengers.
Around 20% of services will run across only around half the network.
Passengers with an advance, off peak or anytime fare who have bought a ticket on a strike day can use it for travel the day before, or up to and including Tuesday August 2, or they can change their tickets to travel on an alternate date, or get a refund if their train is cancelled or rescheduled.
Separately, the drivers’ union Aslef has called strike action across eight train operators on Saturday July 30 that will significantly disrupt some routes.
There will also be a 24-hour strike by Aslef members on the Greater Anglia network on Saturday July 23.
Andrew Haines, NR 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 and the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.
“It is frustrating to yet again ask our passengers to change their plans and only make essential journeys.”
Steve Montgomery, chairman 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.
“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.”
NR pointed out that all train operators are affected by the July 27 strike, whether they have an individual dispute with the RMT or not, as signallers control train movements across the entire country.
Further RMT strikes are also planned for August 18 and 20.