People in Lincolnshire have been forced to cancel plans or find alternative transport ahead of the largest rail strike in more than 30 years.
Walk-outs take place on Tuesday, June 21, Thursday, June 23 and Saturday, June 25 – across Network Rail and 13 English train companies.
Strike action was called by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) following calls from the government for the rail sector to reduce costs by around 10% after a lull in services affected by COVID-19.
The RMT says the only way to do this would be to cut jobs, so has planned three days of protests, which will see more than 50,000 workers take part in the biggest rail dispute since 1989.
People attending large events could be affected by the strikes, including Glastonbury Festival and a cricket Test match between England and New Zealand.
Chris Davis was among The Lincolnite readers to criticise the strike saying: “Selfish s*ds who had loads of support during the pandemic. We are in a cost of living crisis and need to pull together not divide and cause more problems. It won’t result in settlement either.”
Red Eric said: “If COVID didn’t kill the railways it looks as if the unions will.”
However, John Smith said: “Well done workers! Stand up for your rights.”
Aaron Bent said: “Stand strong and stick it to the greedy TOCs and government. Fight for your rights, wages, working conditions and no cuts to jobs either. 100% behind the brothers and sisters in the RMT!”
Jay Kerr added: “Striking is sometimes the only way to get the message across to the government (well try). If we didn’t have it then we wouldn’t live in a democracy. Wouldn’t be hard for the Tories to listen to the workers!”
Jamie White said: “I know it has been said the railways bring a fantastic amount of money into Lincoln […] it will be interesting to see how road traffic flows on those days!”
Martyn Green wanted to look beyond just the train issues and he said: “Now time to block all major roads in protest at fuel prices. Only way we will get anywhere is to bring the country to a halt!”
No services for Lincoln
LNER has released its timetables, subject to final Network Rail validation, for the week commencing June 20.
On the three days of walkouts, there will be no LNER trains to or from Lincoln at all, while the days in between will see just a few services to London King’s Cross.
Nationally the company will run around 38% of its usual trains, all of which are likely to be very busy. This has prompted LNER to ask people to avoid travelling via train over this period if at all possible.
If you have already booked a ticket for these dates you are likely to have been contacted via email to inform you if the times have been changed or cancelled.
East Midlands Railway
Lincoln routes are majorly affected to the point of no services running to or from the city.
A spokesperson for EMR said: “We will be operating a significantly reduced service on these dates. We ask customers to only travel by rail if necessary. If you do decide to travel, plan ahead and leave extra time for disruption and short notice changes.
“This includes the days between strikes as we will be running a reduced level of service and expect some disruption to the advertised service levels, particularly on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.”
Northern Rail said “customer safety is our priority” and is advising people not to travel between Tuesday, June 21 and Saturday, June 26 and to make alternative plans.
On strike days there will be extremely limited availability of both train crew and signalling staff and as such we will not be able to operate services on most routes. There will be no replacement buses or alternative travel provided.
The train operator said: “Where we are able to operate trains, services will be very limited, and trains will not start as early as normal and will finish much earlier than normal. You will be entitled to a refund for dates affected by strike action if not travelling, details can be found in the FAQs.”