The biggest rail strikes in three decades have begun - with major disruption across Birmingham. Communters have been advised only to travel if their journey is vital. We will be bringing you live updates as the strike gets underway.
Live updates: Train strike in Birmingham - first day of rail union industrial action
Last updated: Tuesday, 21 June, 2022, 11:08
Passengers queue at Birmingham New Street as the doors were locked at 7am this morning (Tuesday, June 21)
A normally buzzing Birmingham New Street station saw passengers queueing to enter at 7am this morning as the first day of industrial action by the RMT got underway - with train services drastically reduced or cancelled across the country.
Rail companies across the West Midlands have issued reduced timetables as the strike action was confirmed yesterday when last ditch attempts to cancel it failed. West Midlands Railway, Avanti West Coast and Cross Country have all cut services this week. Here is the latest timetables and advice from the three companies https://www.birminghamworld.uk/news/live-updates-train-strike-in-birminghamfirst-day-of-rmt-industrial-action-3739013
National Rail Enquiries online journey planner crashes
People hoping to use the Network Rail online journey planner were left disappointed this morning as the service stopped working. A message kept popping up stating: “500 Internal Server Error”
It is believed this could be due to a surge in demand as the rail strikes get underway.
RMT pickets out at Birmingham New Street since 6am - with some members of the public showing support
RMT union pickets, who had been out since around 6am, were posted at all the main entrances to Birmingham New Street station, as well as outside the city’s eye-catching concrete signal box in nearby Navigation Street.
Reporters at New Streest advised that although none of those on the pickets was authorised to speak to media, the mood of members was upbeat.
They also said that there was some visible support from the public, with a handful of drivers beeping horns, however most people on their way to work in the city centre merely glanced at the picket lines before carrying on.
Window cleaner Anthony Noble was soaping down the glass panels on The Railway pub opposite the main picket line at Birmingham New Street station.
The 46-year-old is fully supportive of the industrial action, saying “fair play to them”.
“At the end of the day they do a good service. They should be on strike,” he added.
He said talk of a conditional below-inflation pay offer, or proposed rule changes to allow rail operators to hire agency staff, is “desperate”.
“What are they going to do, replace them?”
He added. “I hope they get what they’re asking for.”
Birmingham New Street quiet as rail strike gets underway
At Birmingham New Street, the station has been quieter than a usual Tuesday morning rush, with travellers appearing to have either decided to work from home or found alternative ways to get to their desks.
Down on the platforms, the 7.34am service to Northampton, the next earliest train heading in the direction of London, was full, but passengers had all managed to get seats.
Train marshals were also helping people plan any onward journeys.
Trains overcrowded - if they are running
More passengers reporting that the train services that are running are overcrowded.
Carol Hutchinson - on her way back to the Lake District after coming off a six-hour flight from Egypt - arrived back in the UK to find her direct train from Birmingham International station cancelled.
Having made her way to New Street, she was waiting to board, with her luggage, what appeared to be one of the few trains still running.
“I think it’s going to be standing room only… I’m not even sure I’ll get on with my suitcase,” she said.
RMT workers warned about industrial action during a protest at New Street in March - here’s what they said
RMT workers staged a protest at Birmingham New Street in March warning that they would strike if their pay and conditions were threatened. Speaking to BirminghamWorld at New Street at the time, John Watson, Regional Admin Manager for RMT Midlands, said: “Rail fares have been increased by an average of 3.8% as of 1 March.
“Fares are going up every single year and people are starting to pay more and actually getting less for their money.
“Services and staffing levels are being cut, the visibility and availability of staff are all going down and people are paying more and getting less for their money.
“We’re protesting and asking the government to cut the fares, invest in the railways in the UK and keep the money in the UK.”
Government and unions called out in 11th hour to stop biggest rail strike in 30 years
Here’s a look at the last ditch attempts to stop the strike - stopping thousands of workers making it into the office this morning. Have you been affected? Let us know. Our email address is [email protected]
UK prepares for the biggest rail strike in 30 years: everything you need to know on the dispute and events which could be affected
Here’s a look at how the rail strike is affecting the whole country, including the events that could be hit.