Railway strike causes chaos on trains and increase in road traffic

Railway strike causes chaos on trains and increase in road traffic

Millions of people are experiencing disruptions due to rail strikes, with 80% of trains canceled and an increase in road congestion.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the public to “stay the course” after some 40,000 members of Network Rail’s Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and 13 train operators left in a bitter dispute over wages, jobs and conditions. .

Only a fifth of trains are running on Tuesday and half of all lines are closed.

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

The last trains will be much earlier than usual such as London Euston to Glasgow at 1.30pm, London King’s Cross to Edinburgh at 2pm and London Paddington to Cardiff at 4.27pm.

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.

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

It is believed that many people are working from home rather than traveling to offices.

An empty platform at Wellington Station in Shropshire

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

Those forced to travel are having to deal with skeletal train schedules and increased road traffic.

Electrical engineer Harry Charles said his typical 10-minute commute to work by train to London Bridge took 90 minutes.

The 30-year-old, from Lewisham, south east London, said: “Obviously I had to get up early and left the house at 6am.

“I am with the employees who are on strike because their money is not going up and the cost of everything is going up.

“The strike caused a lot of problems for people, but everyone wants to be able to eat.”

Rail and subway strikes

Southeast trains stop at detours in Ashford, Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA)

At Liverpool Lime Street station, couple Sheila and Steve, who declined to give their last name, were supposed to travel to London for a theater trip that costs £500.

Steve said: “The 8:47 am train has been canceled and we are just keeping our fingers crossed for the next one at 9:47.

“I think they have the right to attack, but that seems a little unfair to other people.”

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 was 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.

Johnson told a Cabinet meeting that the reforms are vital to the rail industry and those who work in it.

He said: “I say this for the country as a whole, we need to prepare to stay the course.

“To stay the course, because these reforms, these improvements to the way we operate our railroads are in the interests of the traveling public, they will help reduce costs for ticket payers across the country.”

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.

Figures published by location technology company TomTom show that the level of congestion on the roads at 11 am was higher than at the same time last week in several cities.

In London, congestion levels have increased from 38%% on June 14th to 51% today.

Other locations with the worst traffic included Cardiff (from 24% to 29%), Liverpool (from 24% to 30%), Manchester (from 27% to 34%) and Newcastle (from 18% to 20%).

The numbers represent the proportion of additional time required for travel compared to free-flowing conditions.

There were also severe queues in the outer London sections of the M1, M4, A4 and A40.

People trying to move around the capital faced long lines for buses.

Uber has raised its prices amid a surge in demand, with a 5km journey from Paddington to King’s Cross estimated to be £27 at 8:45am.

Rail and subway strikes

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

Strikes are also planned for Thursday and Saturday.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer is considering possible disciplinary action after several MPs from his party joined picket lines outside the stations.

He reportedly ordered leaders not to do so, as the Conservatives have tried to use the fight to claim that Labor is on the side of the striking workers who caused the chaos.

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

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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