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Parts of railway network to close during next week’s strikes

Parts of railway network to close during next week’s strikes

Parts of Britain’s rail network will be closed during next week’s strikes, passengers have been warned.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will walk out at 14 train companies on March 16 and 18, as well as March 30 and April 1.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators, said it expects 40-50% of services to run on those days but there will be “wide variations”, with some areas having no trains.

Affected operators will only run services from around 7.30am until 6.30pm.

There will also be disruption to services during the nights before and mornings after each strike.

The RDG is frustrated that the RMT has refused to put its latest offer, aimed at resolving the long-running dispute over jobs, pay and conditions, to a vote of its members.

The RMT called off a strike in a separate dispute at Network Rail planned for March 16 after receiving a new offer.

The union has been engaged in national rail strikes since June last year, frequently disrupting services.

A statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel sits on an empty platform at Paddington railway station (Peter Clifton/PA)
A statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel sits on an empty platform at Paddington railway station (Peter Clifton/PA)

Steve Montgomery, who chairs the RDG, said: “This latest round of strikes will be a further inconvenience to our customers, who have already experienced months of disruption, and cost our people even more money at a time they can least afford it.

“They will also be asking why the RMT leadership blocked the chance to resolve this dispute by refusing to give their members, many of whom would have benefited from a 13% increase, a say on their own deal.

“Unfortunately, while we will pull out all the stops to keep as many trains running as possible, there will be reduced services across many parts of the rail network on all four strike days, so our advice is to check before you travel.”