ScotRail is warning customers to expect significant disruption during the latest round of GB-wide strike action by RMT members of Network Rail.
The RMT union announced its members at Network Rail will take strike action on 5 November (Saturday), 7 November (Monday), and 9 November (Wednesday) across the Great Britain railway network resulting from a pay dispute with the track and infrastructure operator.
For ScotRail customers, this means a very limited number of services will operate on a limited number of routes.
The dispute does not involve ScotRail staff, however, it will have a major impact on the train operator’s ability to provide services as the RMT planned action involves Network Rail staff in Scotland.
Many of the Network Rail staff that are due to take part in the planned industrial action occupy safety-critical roles and, as such, it will not be possible for ScotRail to run the vast majority of services.
On the days of strike action, 5, 7, and 9 November, ScotRail has confirmed it will operate a similar service level as the previous strike action on 1 and 8 October.
This means the train operator will run services on 11 routes across the Central Belt, Fife, and the Borders between the hours of 07.30 and 18.30.
The routes and frequency of service which will be in operation are:
- Edinburgh Waverley – Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High: two trains per hour
- Edinburgh Waverley – Helensburgh Central: two trains per hour (on 5 November this will operate Edinburgh Waverley - Dalmuir only due to pre-planned engineering works)
- Glasgow Central – Hamilton/Larkhall: two trains per hour
- Glasgow Central – Lanark: two trains per hour
- Edinburgh Waverley – Glasgow Central via Shotts: one train per hour
- Edinburgh Waverley – Cowdenbeath: two trains per hour
- Edinburgh Waverley – Tweedbank: two trains per hour
- Edinburgh Waverley - Larbert: one train per hour
- Glasgow Queen Street – Larbert: one train per hour
- Glasgow Queen Street – Falkirk Grahamston: one train per hour
- Milngavie – Springburn: two trains per hour
The train operator is warning customers that the final services will depart well before 18.30, so customers should plan ahead and ensure they know when their last train will depart.
Due to the greater reliance on manual signalling outside the Central Belt, Network Rail is unable to facilitate passenger services on any other routes on the strike days.
The train operator is updating its retail systems to reflect the impact of strike action. Customers are also advised to visit scotrail.co.uk/strike for more information.
The important messages for customers are:
- There will be no service except on 11 ScotRail routes across the Central Belt, Fife, and Borders.
- For the routes on which will operate a service, customers should only travel if they really need to and should consider alternative options where possible.
- Please check the status of your journey on the ScotRail website or app before travelling.
ScotRail is asking customers attending Scotland v Fiji at Murrayfield this Saturday to plan ahead if they’re travelling to the game by train. Long queues at stations are expected when heading to and from the match due to the limited service in place. A very limited service will be in operation after the final whistle so customers should consider alternative options if they’re not back at the station promptly as travel cannot be guaranteed.
Disruption to ScotRail services will not be confined to the days of strike action and will also impact the day following each day of action – 6 November (Sunday), 8 November (Tuesday) and, 10 November (Thursday).
On the days following strike action, there will be disruption caused by the reopening of signal boxes at different times across the country. Signal boxes are key pieces of Network Rail infrastructure located across the rail network that control train movements. Their use is critical to ensure that the railway can operate safely.
While large signalling centres in the Central Belt will be able to operate from 07.15, this will not be the case at manual boxes elsewhere and it may well be much later before many routes are able to operate as normal. This is particularly the case for routes beyond the Central Belt.
Customers with an Advance, Off-Peak, or Anytime ticket dated 5, 7, or 9 November can use it for travel the day before, or up to and including Friday, 11 November. Customers can also change their tickets to travel on an alternate date or get a refund if their train is cancelled or rescheduled.
Customers are advised to check the ScotRail app or visit scotrail.co.uk for the latest information before travelling.
David Simpson, ScotRail Service Delivery Director, said:
“Once again, it’s really disappointing to see the dispute between Network Rail and the RMT result in more widespread disruption across the whole Great Britain rail network at a time when we need to be encouraging more people back to the railway.
“For ScotRail, it’s going to mean that we won’t be able to operate the vast majority of our services, which we know will be really frustrating for our customers.
“ScotRail customers should expect significant disruption to services on strike days, as well as on the days after industrial action.
“We’re advising customers to seek alternative means of transport and to only travel if you really need to on the days of strike action. Customers should check your journey in advance to make sure your train is running if you’re travelling on one of the days following strike action.”