Strike and engineering work to cause bank holiday rail difficulties

TransPennine Express urged passengers not to travel on Saturday or Sunday due to a walkout by conductors.

29 April 2022

Rail passengers embarking on a bank holiday getaway face disruption due to strike action and engineering projects.

TransPennine Express (TPE), which operates across northern England and into Scotland, urged passengers not to travel on Saturday or Sunday due to a walkout by conductors who are members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union.

The firm said it will only run “a very small number of services” on those days.

The industrial action is part of a long-running dispute over pay and rosters.

TPE customer experience director Kathryn O’Brien said: “With further action by RMT taking place this weekend, we are urging customers once again to avoid travel on our services and travel either side of the weekend instead.

“We are saddened and disappointed that this disruption will mean we are unable to get our customers to where they want to be this bank holiday weekend.”

The RMT has said the strike aims to achieve “pay justice for hard-working staff”.

Several rail lines will be closed over the Early May bank holiday period as Network Rail carries out 550 upgrade projects.

Passengers at London Euston station
No trains will run between London Euston and Milton Keynes (Peter Byrne/PA)

No trains will operate between London Euston and Milton Keynes on Saturday, Sunday or Monday due to work on the West Coast Main Line and for HS2.

Passengers planning journeys between London Euston and Scotland are advised to travel either side of the long weekend.

No Southern trains will serve London Victoria over the three-day period due to ongoing track and signalling upgrades at the station.

Most services will be diverted to London Bridge, with limited rail replacement buses between East Croydon/Balham and Clapham Junction for local journeys.

Stansted Airport will not be served by direct trains from the capital between Saturday and Monday because of engineering work at Bishops Stortford.

Buses will replace Stansted Express trains between Waltham Cross and the airport.

Passengers are urged to allow more time for their journeys or consider other travel options such as car, coach or taxi.

The journey between London Liverpool Street and the airport by train and bus will take an estimated 90 minutes, compared with 50 minutes when direct rail services are running.

Engineering work in the Motherwell area means no TPE trains will run between Carlisle and Glasgow Central or Edinburgh.

More than 95% of the rail network will be unaffected by the work taking place, according to Network Rail.

The organisation’s chief executive Andrew Haines said: “While the majority of our network will be open for business as usual, we’re asking passengers who are planning to use the railway over the Early May bank holiday to check their journey in advance.

“Teams across Network Rail will be delivering £70 million worth of upgrades, helping to make the railway more reliable and fit for the future.”

UK roads are expected to be quieter than normal for a bank holiday weekend due to Easter being just a fortnight ago, combined with the upcoming half-term break, high fuel prices and forecasts of mild weather.

The RAC said Monday is likely to see the most traffic, with 3.3 million leisure journeys planned.

Traffic on the A2 heading out of London
Bank holiday traffic is expected to be lighter than usual (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

A survey of 850 motorists indicated that 14% will not plan to make a road journey for a day trip or holiday over the long weekend because of the cost of fuel.

That is compared with just 6% who did not drive over Easter for the same reason.

Filling a typical 55-litre family car with petrol is nearly £20 more expensive compared with 12 months ago, while the cost of a tank of diesel has risen by more than £25.

A poll of 2,400 customers by automotive classified advertising business Auto Trader suggested 38% of people are less likely to go on a UK holiday this year compared with 2021.

Some 85% of that group blamed the decision on fuel costs.

The AA predicted that this weekend many families will opt for “a relatively inexpensive day in a local park or on the coast”.

It warned that roads could also be busy around shopping centres, homeware stores and garden centres.

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