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Hundreds of trains cancelled on Friday ahead of national rail strike on Saturday

Hundreds of trains cancelled on Friday ahead of national rail strike on Saturday

Since the start of October, rail passengers have experienced the most intense industrial action in four decades, with strikes wrecking many journeys. Disruption will continue through the weekend.

Another national rail strike involving more than 40,000 members of the RMT union takes place on Saturday 8 October.

But before that hundreds of trains are cancelled due to local disputes, staff shortage and technical problems.

Several train operator-specific strikes are taking place on Friday in a series of disputes over pay. Staff at East Midlands Railway who belong to the Unite union are walking out.

The rail firm, which runs from Sheffield, Derby, Nottingham and Leicester to London St Pancras, warns: “Only travel by rail if absolutely necessary and if you do travel, expect severe disruption.”

On Great Western Railway, a strike by managers and office workers belonging to the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) will reduce the operation to “an extremely limited service” on Friday.

“All journeys must be completed before 7pm,” the train firm says. No trains will run west of Plymouth all day, and the first link from London Paddington to Swansea will be this afternoon.

The Night Riviera Sleeper between London and Penzance is cancelled.

In addition, some trains serving Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton airports have been cancelled due to a combination of strike action, staff shortage and technical faults.

Saturday will see another national rail strike by members of the RMT union in a long and bitter dispute over working conditions, jobs and pay.

Half the railway in Great Britain will be closed completely as 5,000 Network Rail signallers walk out, while services on lines that are open will be much reduced. Only around one in five trains will run.

The RMT says ministers are “planning the biggest attack on your pay and working conditions for 20 years, in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis”.

The government, Network Rail and train operators say pay rises are only affordable if the railway is made more efficient – to compensate for the collapse in ticket revenue since the Covid crisis.

The rail minister, Kevin Foster, tweeted: “While [passenger] numbers are going up, our railways have still not recovered from the pandemic and strikes are putting progress at risk and driving passengers away when we need them most.

“We need to create a sustainable railway for the future.”

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