Rail passengers to'¨face a week of strikes and delays

COMMUTERS face a week of chaos and delays as rail firms go on strike.

Monday, 8th January 2018, 7:52 pm
Updated Monday, 8th January 2018, 7:53 pm
Rail commuters are facing a number of strikes this week

Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union members from South Western Rail and Southern are just two of five rail firms going on strike this week.

Pat Davis relies on rail transport to get to work in Fratton each day.

The 73-year-old said: ‘I always check the trains before I travel as there have been a lot of strikes recently.

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‘In fact it almost seems normal now.

Pat added: ‘I have mixed feelings about the strikes as it causes massive delays for passengers but guards also have their right to strike if they are unhappy.’

South Western Railway said more than 70 per cent of its normal weekday service of 1,700 trains ran, although there were rail replacement buses and arrangements to have tickets accepted on other train companies.

Harriett Taylor from Portsmouth said: ‘There are lots of train strikes at the moment and has been for some while.’

The 18-year-old added: ‘I can imagine it must be extremely frustrating for commuters who are delayed on their way to work and that they must almost hope and pray they make it on time.’

South Western Railway managing director Andy Mellors said: ‘We have repeatedly guaranteed that no-one will lose their job and that we will roster a second person on board every train.

‘However, what we have been trying to talk to the RMT about is what happens if a guard is unavailable at short notice, perhaps due to illness or disruption; and how we might keep passengers moving rather than leave them stranded.’

Despite earlier reports from Conservative HQ, Chris Grayling remains the Secretary of State for the Department of Transport.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: ‘The Transport Secretary recognises the disruption caused to passengers and has met with union leaders on several occasions, including as recently as December, to help bring an end to the strikes.

‘He offered guarantees of employment to members who currently fulfil the role of the second person on the train beyond the length of the franchises.’

Union members at South Western Railway (SWR), Arriva Rail North (Northern), Merseyrail and Greater Anglia are due to strike tomorrow and Friday, apart from on Southern.