more strikes are being planned for the coming weekend on the railways as signallers down tools.
Due to RMT strike action at Network Rail’s Thames Valley Signalling Centre on Saturday 19 and Monday 21 November, Network Rail is notifying passengers on its Western route – which covers the railway and towns and communities between Penzance and London Paddington – to expect disruption. GWR mainline services from Plymouth will be disrupted.
However, unlike in previous strikes, branch lines in Devon and Cornwall, including the Dartmoor Line to Okehampton, will continue to run as normal.On strike days a limited service will operate across many parts of the Western route between 7.30am until 6.30pm; with the last trains leaving much earlier.
Disruption should also be expected in the morning of the day after each strike day – Sunday 20 and Tuesday 22 November – as the railway recovers from the previous day’s strikes.
GWR passengers travelling from the West and South West attending the England vs New Zealand international rugby union game at Twickenham are told to not travel by train.
On Saturday 19 and Monday 21 November, RMT members at the Thames Valley Signalling Centre (TVSC) including signallers, shift signaller managers, electrical control operators and level crossing keepers will go on strike, resulting in a period of disruption for rail passengers between Saturday 19 and Tuesday 22 November. The TVSC at Didcot Parkway plays a critical role in the safe and reliable running of trains between London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads, Westbury, South Wales and Cheltenham and Gloucester, meaning this strike action will particularly affect passengers in the South West, West of England, Oxfordshire, Thames Valley and the Cotswolds.Differently to previous strike action, the whole of the Western route will remain open on the two strike days, albeit with a limited service. Services in Devon and Cornwall including branch lines will continue to operate to a near normal frequency. A normal CrossCountry service will be available for most of the day but will not be able to operate at Bristol or Reading after 18:30. See www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/disruption
Network Rail’s interim Western route director David Davidson said: ‘I’d like to sincerely apologise to passengers for this latest disruption. It’s really disappointing that the RMT has decided to call this needless strike action which will severely impact passengers over a four-day period, starting this Saturday, November 19. ‘This strike action will have a significant impact on passengers travelling from the South West and West to watch the England vs New Zealand rugby match at Twickenham. There will be no train services travelling West after the game, so we are asking those passengers not to travel by train. We have been working closely with the train operators to agree the services they will be able to operate during this time but please continue to check with your train operator on the services they are running or visit the National Rail Enquiries website for more information.’