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Rail passengers face more disruption as strikes continue

Rail passengers face another day of widespread disruption on Saturday as the second 24-hour strike this week by train crews takes place.

Members of the RMT union at 14 train operators will strike in the long-running dispute over pay and jobs.

Just under half of all trains are expected to run, although with significant regional variations.

The strike does not directly affect train operators in Wales and Scotland but cross-border services operated by Avanti, GWR and LNER will be reduced.

Intercity routes operated by LNER will be severely limited, with last trains between London and Edinburgh departing in the early afternoon, while Avanti, GWR and East Midlands will run hourly intercity services.

The majority of stations on Southeastern will be closed, with South Western and Southern will also be affected by engineering works as well as strikes.

Operators including CrossCountry, TransPennine, Northern and Chiltern will not run trains to key stops on their normal network.

C2c and parts of Greater Anglia will remain largely unaffected by the action. In some places significantly more trains will run than during the first strike on Thursday, when several operations remained affected by rosters at Network Rail drawn up in anticipation of a strike that was eventually called off.

Across the railway, disruption could persist early on Sunday. The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), an industry body, has advised passengers to check for updates before they travel.

The RMT suspended planned industrial action at Network Rail for a referendum on a pay offer, the result of which is due on Monday. Staff have been offered a 9% rise over two years, with more for the lowest paid.

The RDG has urged the RMT to call off further strikes, with two more due in a fortnight, and put the similar 9% pay offer made by train operators to its members for a vote. It said the strikes were not only disrupting customers but “costing our people even more money at a time they can least afford it”.

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The RMT said it would continue to fight, as it highlighted profits and executive pay at private train operators, including the £2.2m remuneration paid in 2022 to Matthew Gregory, the the then departing chief executive of FirstGroup, which runs Avanti, TransPennine, South Western and Great Western.

The union said the train companies’ average annual profits since the Covid pandemic were roughly double what the current pay offer would cost for one year, an estimated £60m.

The RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “On the one hand, ministers tell workers they must tighten their belts, and on the other they are using taxpayer’s money to fund eye-watering pay rises and profits for the railway fat cats. It is this blatant unfairness that will only reinforce our members’ determination to get a better deal.”

Train staff are due to strike again on 30 March and 1 April.



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