Rail passengers warned of continued disruption in aftermath of strike action
Rail passengers have been warned to expect continued disruption to their journeys in the aftermath of Wednesday’s strike action and ahead of Friday’s walkouts.
Commuters have been warned by operators to expect “significantly reduced train services” across all three days and advised to check ahead of taking a journey.
Train driver members of Aslef and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) staged industrial action on Wednesday and will take to picket lines again on Friday in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.
📢 National industrial action is taking place on today & 3 February, NO trains will run on these days.
On 2 & 4 February, our trains will start much later than usual. Make sure you plan ahead at https://t.co/SSuFkYJWCt.
ℹ️ More info 👇 https://t.co/3V45eitURX pic.twitter.com/9NFP0aOoFu
— Southern (@SouthernRailUK) February 1, 2023
Despite warnings Thursday morning could bring delays, rail passengers reported many services were running on time.
One Twitter user wrote: “May I ask how Southeastern were able to get most trains out on time (one or two lines being the exemption) following one of the biggest strikes the day before yet for months not be able to do this on the following day?”
Southeastern has said it will operate a normal timetable on Thursday.
Train Strike | Wednesday 1st February 2023
On its website, it stated: “While we’ll be running our normal timetable on the days either side of the strikes, other train companies may not be able to do so.”
A Southeastern staff member responded by explaining that while previous strikes have included signallers and control staff, Wednesday’s strike was by train drivers, “which meant that the lines were available so trains could start normally”.
Another passenger said on Twitter they had arrived at Welling station in south-east London on Thursday to find it locked and inaccessible.
Network Rail previously said: “Due to industrial action, there will be significantly reduced train services from Wednesday 1 until Friday February 3.
@Se_Railway Unbelievably inept. For once we have trains starting at normal time after a strike day; yet on arrival at Welling station this morning, find the station locked up. Two trains have passed through but no one could get on to the station to travel.
— Matthew Scott (@mattscott1969) February 2, 2023
“Trains will be busier and likely to start later and finish earlier. There will be no services at all in some places.
“If you’re travelling, please plan ahead and check your first and last train times. For the latest travel information, visit National Rail or your train company’s website.”
Network Rail said it expected around 80 to 85 per cent of services will run on Thursday.
In a message to passengers on its website, Avanti West Coast said that “days either side of the strikes will also be affected”.
If you are travelling between 1 and 3 February services may be much busier than usual. No longer travelling? Find out about ticket refunds and changes at https://t.co/auHZSuUupH pic.twitter.com/CHUdVLVoZe
— National Rail (@nationalrailenq) February 1, 2023
Southern Rail said trains will start “much later than usual” on Thursday.
In a tweet, it said: “The first services of the day will be much later than normal, with no services before 0700. This could be later depending on where you’re travelling from.”
Analysis of train performance website trains.im showed 7.6 per cent of services were either cancelled or more than half an hour late up to 2pm on Wednesday.
The figure for the entire day on Tuesday was 0.4 per cent.
The Aslef union’s general secretary Mick Whelan has insisted rail workers have the public’s support as strike action continues.
Speaking to the PA news agency on Wednesday, the biggest day of strikes in the UK in more than a decade, he said: “We’ve seen polling this week that shows that the general public are supporting all the unions that are on strike, including the rail unions.”
He has also warned that proposed anti-strike laws could backfire on the Government by prompting rail workers to stage longer periods of industrial action.