Train strikes bring Britain to a standstill: Drivers at 11 companies walk out as rugby fans are told not to go to England and Wales matches by rail today while 3,000 London bus drivers vow to press ahead with industrial action next month

  • Aslef members at 11 companies have walked out today in long-running pay row
  • Train operators warned of ‘significantly reduced’ services across the country
  • Some operators including Avanti West Coast and Southeastern have no services
  • Abellio bus drivers will walk out on seven days next month, Unite has confirmed

Rugby fans travelling to watch England and Wales today have been warned of significant disruption amid another day of rail strikes as train drivers at 11 companies walk out in a long-running pay row.

Train operators warned of ‘significantly reduced’ services across the country and urged passengers to travel only if necessary as members of Aslef walk out today.

Most intercity trains on mainlines from London to Scotland and Wales have been cancelled and some operators – Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Railway, Heathrow Express, Northern and Southeastern – have no services running all day.

Meanwhile, almost 3,000 London bus drivers have vowed to press ahead with seven days of industrial action next month. 

Unite said 2,000 of its members employed by Metroline and 950 at Abellio will take seven days of action between December 1 and 17 in disputes over pay. 

Train operators warned of ‘significantly reduced’ services across the country and urged passengers to travel only if necessary as members of Aslef walk out today. Pictured: an empty platform at London Waterloo Station today

Passengers sleep at Manchester Piccadilly railway station amid another day of rail strikes across the country

Some operators – Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Railway, Heathrow Express, Northern and Southeastern – have no services running all day. Pictured: empty platforms at Manchester Piccadilly this morning

There are also strikes on Abellio bus services today, mostly affecting routes in west and south London, and the Circle line has been suspended due to staff shortages caused by the national rail strike.

Trains that are running will start later on Saturday morning and finish much earlier than usual, with services typically running between 7.30am and 6.30pm. 

Rugby fans travelling to England v South Africa at Twickenham and to Cardiff for the Wales v Australia international are advised to check with their train operator for travel updates as many trains across the network will be affected.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said progress in talks aimed at resolving the dispute had been ‘incredibly slow’.

He said: ‘We don’t want to be in this position, but no-one is listening to us. Our members did not receive a pay rise during the pandemic and we are being told that train companies can’t afford more than a 2 per cent rise.

‘Only the Government can take the shackles off the employers. We are in this for the long haul – and our members want us to go harder and faster.’

Mr Whelan is due to meet Transport Secretary Mark Harper next week to discuss the dispute.

Daniel Mann, director of industry operations at the Rail Delivery Group, said: ‘The strike by Aslef brings more uncertainty for passengers and businesses by disrupting their weekend plans.

 Train drivers at 11 companies have walked out today in a long-running pay row. Pictured: Passengers sleeping at Manchester Piccadilly station

Most intercity trains on mainlines from London to Scotland and Wales have been cancelled. Pictured: a passenger sleeping in a quiet London Waterloo station

‘While we will do all that we can to minimise disruption, if you are going to travel on the routes affected, please plan ahead and check the latest travel advice on national rail inquiries.

‘Passengers with advance, off-peak or anytime tickets affected by the strike can use their ticket either on the day before the date on the ticket, or up to and including Tuesday 29 November. Passengers can also change their tickets to travel on an alternate date or get a refund if their train is cancelled or rescheduled.’

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

The union announced this week that over 40,000 members will take strike action on December 13, 14, 16 and 17 and on January 3, 4, 6 and 7. 

National rail strikes: Which operators are affected? 

Avanti West Coast: No service

Chiltern Railways: No service

CrossCountry: No service

East Midlands Railway: No service

West Midlands Railway/ London Northwestern Railway: No service

Heathrow Express: No service

Northern: No service

Southeastern: No service

Great Western Railway: Extremely limited service running between 7.30am and 9.30pm. Trains will only run between London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads (these trains will not stop at Bath Spa); Reading and Oxford; and Reading and Basingstoke.

Greater Anglia: Extremely limited service. One train per hour on routes between London Liverpool Street and Colchester, Norwich and Southend Victoria and on the Stansted Express service. No trains on any other routes including the Cambridge to London Liverpool Street mainline, or rail replacement buses for them.

London North Eastern Railway: Extremely limited service. Just one train each way between London and Leeds and four each way between London and Edinburgh.

TransPennine Express: Extremely limited service. Four trains each way between York and Manchester Piccadilly, three between Manchester, Victoria and Liverpool Lime Street and two between Sheffield and Cleethorpes.

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