Most stations stand empty as Wales’ rail network grinds to a halt due to biggest strike in 30 years
Most stations stand empty as Wales is hit by the start of the largest strike by rail workers for a generation today.
The only Transport for Wales services running in Wales today will be a reduced service between Radyr and Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil, with replacement bus services between Radyr and Cardiff Central.
Transport for Wales are not in dispute with the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union but operate on railways run by Network Rail, which is.
GWR services to the south of Wales will run at one an hour, but trains will only operate from Cardiff Central towards the east. The last train will leave for London at 3.54pm. The network will be shut down at 6.30pm.
Much of the rest of Britain will have no passenger trains for the entire day, including most of Scotland, the whole of Cornwall and Dorset, and places such as Chester, Hull, Lincoln and Worcester. Only around 20% of rail services will be running today.
Around 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail and 13 train operators have walked out in a dispute over pay and the threat of redundancies. Strikes are also planned for Thursday and Saturday.
Meanwhile, the AA have warned drivers on some of Wales’ roads to brace for “severe traffic” as train passengers switch to road transport during the rail strikes.
The worst affected roads are likely to be main motorway arteries, as well as rural and suburban areas, they said.
The M4, A55, A5, and A483 in Wales are likely to be the worst affected, according to the AA.
An AA route planner spokesman said: “Even though the strike is for three days, many travellers will give up on the trains for the whole week.
“Generally we predict a big increase in traffic in Scotland, Wales and major routes across the UK.
“The impact will be slightly cushioned by record fuel prices deterring some and more commuters deciding to work from home but congestion will still be a problem.”
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said Network Rail had offered a 2% pay rise with the possibility of a further 1% later dependent on efficiency savings.
He told BBC’s Newsnight that Network Rail had “escalated” the dispute during Monday’s talks, saying: “They have issued me a letter saying that there are going to be redundancies starting from July 1.
“So rather than trying to come to an agreement in this dispute, they’ve escalated it by giving us formal notice of redundancy amongst our Network Rail members.”
He warned the dispute could continue for months, adding: “It is clear that the Tory Government, after slashing £4bn of funding from National Rail and Transport for London, has now actively prevented a settlement to this dispute.
“The rail companies have now proposed pay rates that are massively under the relevant rates of inflation, coming on top of the pay freezes of the past few years.
“At the behest of the Government, companies are also seeking to implement thousands of job cuts and have failed to give any guarantee against compulsory redundancies.”
The Department for Transport disputed Mr Lynch’s clams, adding that it has cost taxpayers about £600 per household to keep the railway running during the coronavirus pandemic.
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