Rail passengers are suffering fresh travel chaos on Wednesday as thousands of workers walked out on strike, crippling services across the country.

Disputes in the bitter row over jobs, pay, pensions and conditions are worsening, with more strikes in the coming days, and a wave of industrial action planned next month on the railways and London Underground.

Only around one in five trains will run on Wednesday, on around half the network, with some areas having no trains all day.

Passengers are being urged to only travel by train if they must, and if it is necessary, allow extra time and check when their last train will depart.

Trains are expected to be disrupted on Thursday morning with a later start to services as employees return to duties.

Read more: Rail strike LIVE - Rail disruption throughout North East during Wednesday

The Northern Echo: A passenger crosses the empty concourse of a station during rush hour A passenger crosses the empty concourse of a station during rush hour

What are the strikes about?

Network Rail is introducing reforms. It comes as fewer passengers are travelling by train because of the pandemic, which has led to more people working from home.

They say a two-year, 8% deal with a no-compulsory-redundancy guarantee and other benefits and extras was on the table but the RMT left the talks.

Picket lines 

Two picket lines of RMT and supporting Unison members stood outside Newcastle Central station, where a reduced service was running.

RMT regional executive committee member for the North East David King said: “The public are 100% behind us – it’s absolutely overwhelming the amount of support we’ve been getting, it’s rock solid.

“People understand why we are doing it and they back us because they’re the same as us – they’re feeling the pinch as well.”

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The Northern Echo: Members of the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on the picket line Members of the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on the picket line

What are services like in the North East?


No direct services will run between Birmingham and Bristol, Cardiff, Peterborough, Cambridge or Stansted Airport.

A very limited service is planned between Birmingham and Edinburgh via Leeds, York and Newcastle; Leicester; Manchester; and Southampton.

Grand Central

Just three trains in each direction will run between London King’s Cross and both Northallerton and Wakefield Kirkgate.


Only two trains per hour will operate between Edinburgh and London King’s Cross, and one per hour between Leeds and London King’s Cross, in both directions.


Just three trains will run in each direction between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh, with two others doing part of the route.


Passengers are urged “not to travel” as only a small number of routes will have trains.

Routes that will be open include Liverpool to Alderley Edge; York to Leeds; and Darlington to Saltburn.

TransPennine Express

There will only be a very limited service, with just these routes open: Manchester Airport to Preston; Manchester Piccadilly to York; Newcastle to Edinburgh; and Cleethorpes to Sheffield.

Will there be more strikes after this week?

Members of the drivers’ union Aslef at eight train operators across the country will go on strike on Saturday.

Two further RMT strikes are set to take place on August 18 and 20 over job security, pay and working conditions.

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