Train strikes Birmingham: West Midlands Railway reduced timetable - full details here

Passengers in the West Midlands are being urged to only travel if essential

Passengers are being urged not to travel by train across the UK next week unless absolutely necessary as the country faces the biggest rail strike in 30 years.

Four out of five trains are expected to be cancelled and half of all lines shut as tens of thousands of Network Rail staff walk out amid disputes over pay, redundancies and safety.

Network Rail said half of Britain’s rail lines will be closed due to the industrial action.

RMT union members are due to strike for three days next week but travellers are being advised to avoid rail travel from 21 to 26 June (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday next week).

Network Rail said no passenger services will serve locations such as Penzance in Cornwall, Bournemouth in Dorset, Swansea in South Wales, Holyhead in North Wales, Chester in Cheshire and Blackpool, Lancashire.

There will also be no passenger trains running north from Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Open lines include the West Coast Main Line from London to Scotland via locations such as Birmingham and Manchester.

West Midlands Railway train

How will the West Midlands be affected?

West Midlands Railway (WMR) has confirmed it will operate a reduced timetable during the strike days next week.

A very limited number of WMR services will run on these dates, with passengers urged to only travel if essential. In order to allow vital freight transportation to continue, those services which do run will operate between 7.30am and 6.30pm on these days.

A significantly reduced service will also operate on Wednesday 22 June and Friday 24 June as the strike action will impact the usual operation of the railway.

On these days services will commence at 7.30am with last trains earlier than usual.

The following routes will have a limited service in operation between 7.30am and 6.30pm on strike days:

  • Cross-City Line (Lichfield Trent Valley – Redditch/Bromsgrove via Birmingham New Street) – 2 trains per hour
  • Wolverhampton – Birmingham – 1 train per hour
  • Birmingham New Street – Birmingham International – 1 train per hour

No trains will run on any other WMR route, including all routes via Birmingham Snow Hill, Birmingham-Shrewsbury, Birmingham-Worcester-Hereford and Nuneaton-Leamington Spa.

Grand Central Train Station and New Street Mall Birmingham UK

What’s been said about the strike?

Jonny Wiseman, WMR customer experience director, said:“It is very disappointing that this planned strike action by the RMT is set to cause significant disruption to our passengers.

“We will be operating a very limited service all through the week and we are asking customers to only travel with us if their journey is essential and no other transport option is available to them.

“Passengers holding tickets or season tickets will be entitled to refunds and should visit our website for information.”

Steve Montgomery, who chairs industry body the Rail Delivery Group, added: “These strikes will affect the millions of people who use the train each day, including key workers, students with exams, those who cannot work from home, holidaymakers and those attending important business and leisure events.

“Working with Network Rail, our plan is to keep as many services running as possible, but significant disruption will be inevitable and some parts of the network will not have a service, so passengers should plan their journeys carefully and check their train times.”

Only around 12,000-14,000 services will be able to run on the days following the strikes.

This is because signallers and control staff will not work overnight shifts that begin on the strike dates.

That means trains will not be able to leave depots for several hours later than normal.

Why are rail workers striking?

More than 50,000 rail workers are due to walk out after an overwhelming vote in favour of full-scale industrial action.

The three-day action is due to coincide with a series of major cultural and sporting events around the country, including the Glastonbury festival.

Members voted for strike action amid growing pay concerns and job losses in the sector.

Members of the RMT union have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action to assure higher wages, job security, and no compulsory redundancies.

Many workers in the sector also had their wages frozen during the pandemic and have not yet been offered a pay rise.

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