UK train strike to disrupt weekend travel

A fresh strike by train drivers on Saturday will cause more travel chaos for passengers amid warnings of more strikes in a long-standing dispute over pay.

ASLEF members with 11 train operators will leave, causing huge disruption, with the service sector warning ‘significantly reduced’ across the country.

Passengers were advised to plan ahead and check before traveling throughout the weekend.

Running trains will start later on Saturday morning and finish much earlier than usual, with services typically running between 7.30am and 6.30pm on the day of the strike.

The companies where no service is provided are Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, Chiltern and East Midlands, Southeastern, Northern Trains and West Midlands Trains.

Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, London North Eastern Railway and the Transpennine Express operate severely reduced or very limited services.

Rugby fans traveling to England-South Africa to Twickenham and Cardiff for the Wales-Australia international are advised to check with their railway operator for journey updates as many trains across the network will be affected.

Mick Whelan, secretary general of Aslef, said progress on talks aimed at resolving the dispute had been “excruciatingly slow”.

He told the AP news agency: “We don’t want to be in this position, but nobody is listening to us. Our members have not received a pay raise during the pandemic and we are told that train companies cannot afford more than a 2% raise.

“Only the government can unchain employers. We’re in this for the long haul and our members want us to go harder and faster.

Mr. Whelan is meeting with Transportation Secretary Mark Harper next week to discuss the dispute.

Daniel Mann, sector operations director at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “The Aslef strike brings greater uncertainty for passengers and businesses, disrupting their weekend plans.

“While we will do everything we can to minimize disruption, if you intend to travel on the affected routes, plan ahead and check the latest travel advice on domestic rail inquiries.

“Passengers with advance tickets, off-peak or at any time affected by the strike can use the ticket the day before the date indicated on the ticket or up to and including Tuesday 29 November. Passengers can also change their tickets to travel on an alternative date or get a refund if their train is canceled or rescheduled.”

The Rail, Shipping and Transport union has called a series of strikes over the next few weeks at Network Rail and 14 rail operators in its dispute over jobs, pay and conditions, which will cripple services.

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