Millions hit by travel disruption as rail strike paralyzes services

Millions hit by travel disruption as rail strike paralyzes services

Millions of people are suffering disruptions as the biggest rail strike in a generation brings Britain’s rail services to a halt.

Only a fifth of the trains are running on Tuesday and half of the lines are closed, as around 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union in Rede Ferroviária and 13 train operators have left.

Services are generally restricted to main lines, but even these are only open between 7:30am and 6:30pm.

Typically, busy stations like London Euston are mostly deserted except for union picket lines.

The travel planning website National Rail Inquiries stopped working for about half an hour, but the cause of the problem is believed to be unrelated to the strike.

London Underground services are also suspended on the vast majority of lines today due to a worker stoppage.

Roads are busier than usual, with heavy traffic in city centers and on London’s outer sections of the M1, A4 and A40.

Lines that are likely to remain open during the rail strike

Lines that are likely to remain open during the rail workers’ strike (PA)

People trying to get around the capital face long lines for buses.

Uber has raised its prices amid a surge in demand, with a three-mile trip from Paddington to King’s Cross estimated to be £27 at 8:45am.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told BBC Breakfast there will be meetings of the Cobra emergency committee on the railway strikes this week.

He said he does not meet with unions, as he described requests to join them at the negotiating table as a “coup”.

He continued, “I don’t normally meet them because it’s a red herring.

“If I thought there was a one in a million chance it would make a little difference, of course I would do it at the drop of a hat.”

Much of Britain will not have passenger trains all day, including most of Scotland and Wales, all of Cornwall and Dorset and places like Chester, Hull, Lincoln and Worcester.

Last-minute negotiations have not resolved the bitter dispute over wages, jobs and conditions, with all sides blaming each other for the lack of progress.

Strikes are also planned for Thursday and Saturday.

At Birmingham New Street station, some would-be commuters and commuters were trying to work out their travel plans, looking at the timetables on their phones and the departure board in the main concourse.

Carol Hutchinson, who is returning to the Lake District after getting off a six-hour flight from Egypt, landed in the UK to find her direct train from Birmingham International Station cancelled.

Having gone to New Street, she was waiting to board, with her luggage, what appeared to be one of the few trains still running.

“I think it’s just going to stand… I’m not even sure I’m going to keep my suitcase,” she said.

An empty platform at Wellington Station in Shropshire

An empty platform at Wellington Station in Shropshire (Nick Potts/PA)

Master’s student in plant pathology Munjabordrain Dopl was one of the few travelers at Newcastle Central Station.

He said his research was interrupted by the need to catch an early train to Manchester airport before flying to Cameroon to attend his father’s memorial service.

“It’s really getting to me,” he told the PA news agency.

“In a lab you have to respect the timetable, and I should be in the lab now and catch the train at 1 pm.

“Because of that, I had to abandon my research and catch an early train.”

Dozens of people joined the first train to London from Maidenhead station in Berkshire, a popular commute town, at 7:40am.

Rail and subway strikes

Striking railway workers picket at Nottingham railway station (Zac Goodwin/PA)

But other platforms were empty, with only one train running every half hour to the capital on the Elizabeth Line route.

Students and parents are being urged to make an alternative plan to get to school for the A-level and GCSE exams.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to say ahead of a Cabinet meeting that unions are “harming the very people they claim to be helping”.

He is expected to accuse unions of “turning away passengers who ultimately support rail workers’ jobs”, while also hitting companies across the country.

He will say: “Very high payment requirements will also make it incredibly difficult to end the current challenges facing families around the world with the rising cost of living.

“Now is the time to come to a sensible compromise for the good of the British people and the railway workforce.”

RMT Secretary General Mick Lynch warned that the dispute could continue for months, adding: “It is clear that the Conservative government, after cutting £4bn of funding from the National Rail and Transport for London, has now actively prevented a solution. for this dispute. ”

The Department for Transport disputed Lynch’s clams, adding that it cost taxpayers around £600 per family to keep the railway running during the coronavirus pandemic.

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