Seven days of disruption as striking rail unions cripple services Northampton, Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough
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Train travellers from Northampton, Long Buckby, Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough face seven straight days of disruption from Monday (December 12) as the latest round of strikes by rail workers cripples services.
London Northwestern Railway is urging passengers to “only travel if essential” on its services to London Euston while East Midlands Railway says its timetable will be “significantly reduced” as members of the RMT stage two 48-hour walkouts on Tuesday (December 13) and Friday (December 16) in an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.
Trains will run between 7.30am and 6.30pm on certain routes only with early shutdown and late start-ups on days either side of strike action. London Northwestern’s customer experience director, Jonny Wiseman, admitted: “It is very disappointing that our customers will once again be impacted by this unnecessary industrial action.
“With only a very limited service running our advice to passengers is to only travel if your journey is essential and if you do travel, please check your train carefully. Anyone holding a ticket for travel on a strike day can claim a full refund from their point of purchase.”
Passengers are also being warned to expect disruption over the Christmas period with more strikes planned by RMT members. Train operators say timetables for the period from December 18 until Christmas Eve are currently being finalised and will be published next week. No train services run on Christmas Day or Boxing Day but a strike from 6pm on Christmas Eve is likley to mean an early shut-down.
Will Rogers, East Midlands Railway managing director, said: "We are advising customers to plan ahead and only travel by rail if absolutely necessary on days affected by industrial action. Customers are also strongly advised to check when the time of their last train is before setting off and understand how the strike action affects their whole journey.
"At present we only have details of services from up to Friday (December 16) and customers who need to travel on strike affected dates after that should check our website next week when the details have been approved."
Journey planners indicate London Northwestern will run two trains an hour between Northampton and London and an hourly service to Birmingham New Street.
East Midlands Railway aims to run two Intercity trains an hour in each direction from Kettering and one Connect 360 service an hour between Corby and London on strike days.
RMT rejected an offer from the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies, which would have given workers a four percent pay rise in 2022 and 2023 tied to changes to working practices — which the union said would mean huge job losses, driver only operated trains and the closure of ticket offices.
General secretary Mick Lynch said: “The RDG and Department for Transport, who sets their mandate, both knew this offer would not be acceptable. If this plan was implemented, it would not only mean the loss of thousands of jobs but the use of unsafe practices and would leave our railways chronically understaffed.”