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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There’s a graphic on the BBC News showing where the limited rail services are over the next few days which shows that Wales basically doesn’t have a rail service on strike days.
But there aren’t strikes in Wales…
How come strikes not in Wales have turned off our railway service whereas England and, to a lesser degree Scotland, still have a rail service?
Network rail are on strike and they manage the rail lines.
Transport for Wales aren’t on strike, but they can’t run without Network rail operating the rails.
There are some services running (Radyr to Merthyr, Aberdare & Treherbert, as well as Cardif to Newport)
So the Welsh rail operator has no dispute yet has almost no train service.
Time to bring the entire operation under Welsh control (although I appreciate the main Cardiff – Wexham – Bangor journey travels through England. Maybe time for a north-south line within Wales).
Totally agree with TfW taking total control of the railways and its structure.
The UK system has totally failed.
Let us build our own mainline railway system linking Cardiff directly to North Wales passing only through our own country.
Just to clarify some misconceptions about the strike itself: This is a dispute between the RMT and Network Rail/13 train operators, most Train Drivers belong to the Union ASLEF, who aren’t involved in these strikes. Of course the MSM don’t want you to think about this because “strikes bad!” The median salary for rail workers not including train drivers is somewhere between £33,000 and £40,000, usually depending on whether cleaners are included. These are above national median salary but do encompass a wide variety of roles. RMT members include ticket inspectors, catering staff, engineers of train companies as well as… Read more »
Up the workers!