ScotRail is warning customers to expect significant disruption during the latest round of strike action by RMT members of Network Rail.
The RMT union announced its members at Network Rail will take part in 24-hour strike action on Saturday, 1 October and Saturday, 8 October, 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, 1 and 8 October, ScotRail has confirmed it will operate a similar service level as the previous strike action on 18 and 20 August, with the addition of one train per hour between Edinburgh Waverley and Larbert, and Fife services extending from Inverkeithing to Dunfermline and Cowdenbeath.
Edinburgh – North Berwick services, which had been in operation on previous strike days, will not run due to planned engineering works along the route.
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
- 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 in the process of updating its retail systems to reflect the impact of strike action. Customers are also advised to visit www.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 which will operate a service, customers should only travel if they really need to and should consider alternative options where possible.
Disruption to ScotRail services will not be confined to the days of strike action and will also impact the following day, Sunday, 2 October and Sunday, 9 October 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 are advised to check the ScotRail app or visit scotrail.co.uk for the latest information before travelling.
The RMT trade union has also announced that strike action will take place on Monday, 10 October as part of a pay dispute with ScotRail. The train operator is currently working on contingency plans for services on 10 October and will update customers as soon as the plans are finalised.
David Simpson, ScotRail Service Delivery Director, said:
“It’s really disappointing to see 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 Saturday, 1 October and Saturday, 8 October, as well as on the following days.
“We’re advising customers to seek alternative means of transport and to only travel if they really need to on the day of strike action. Customers should check your journey in advance to make sure your train is running if you’re travelling on the day following strike action, Sunday, 2 October and Sunday, 9 October.”
ScotRail will operate a total of 379 trains on Saturday, 1 October and Saturday, 8 October.
ScotRail operated 378 services on the previous days of strike action, 18 and 20 August, and 189 services on the first day of strike action, 27 July.
ScotRail’s normal timetable has around 2,150 services per day.