Train strikes: Drivers’ walkout on seven rail networks prompts long queues for buses

Train stations were deserted this morning and long queues formed at bus stations as the rail strike began to bite.

Severe disruption is expected on the rail network throughout today as a union takes industrial action.

Members of the drivers’ union Aslef will walk out for 24 hours in a row over pay.

No GWR trains to Devon, Cornwall or South Wales will run, and only one round-trip from Leeds to London will be in operation.

This latest round of industrial action involves drivers who are members of the Aslef union working at seven operators: Greater Anglia, GWR, Hull Trains, LNER, London Overground (Arriva Rail London), Southeastern and West Midlands Trains.

Schedules from the train operators who are involved are likely to be severely disrupted. But because Network Rail signallers will not be striking, other train firms’ services should operate normally.

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We’re wrapping up our live coverage of today’s rail strikes.

Thanks for reading and join us again soon – enjoy the rest of your day.

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s travel liveblog. We’ll be bringing you all the latest updates throughout the day.

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Port of Dover traffic moving smoothly this morning

So far this morning there has not been a repeat of last week’s traffic chaos around Dover and Folkestone.

The Port of Dover says: “Tourist flows normal. The roads to the Port (A2/A20) are busy but moving.”

P&O Ferries says: “There are currently no queues at border controls and traffic is free flowing through the port.”

DFDS Ferries says: “Please allow 90 minutes to complete the check in process & border controls at the Port. Upon arrival at check-in, we will accommodate you onto the next available sailing.”

Eurotunnel says that at Folkestone there is a “15 minute wait for French frontier control.”

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Cows on the line near Plymouth

Trains in and out of Plymouth are subject to delay and cancellation this morning.

“Cattle on the line between Totnes and Newton Abbot”, which means “lines are currently blocked”, according to Crosscountry Trains.

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Why are train drivers striking?

The general secretary of train drivers’ union Aslef, Mick Whelan, said of the decision to strike: “We don’t want to inconvenience passengers – our friends and families use public transport, too – and we don’t want to lose money by going on strike but we’ve been forced into this position by the companies driven by the government.

“Many of our members – who were, you will remember, the men and women who moved key workers and goods around the country during the pandemic – have not had a pay rise since 2019.

“With inflation running at north of 10 per cent that means those drivers have had a real terms pay cut over the last three years. We want an increase in line with the cost of living – we want to be able to buy, in 2022, what we could buy in 2021.

“It’s not unreasonable to ask your employer to make sure you’re not worse off for three years in a row. Especially as the train companies are doing very nicely, thank you, out of Britain’s railways – with handsome profits, dividends for shareholders, and big salaries for managers – and train drivers don’t want to work longer for less.”

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EasyJet Spanish cabin crew call off planned weekend strike

A weekend walk-out planned by easyJet’s Spanish cabin crew belonging to two trades unions have been called off.

A spokesperson for the budget airline said: “At easyJet we have always been committed to continuing to work constructively with the unions, so we are pleased to confirm that we have reached an agreement with USO and SITCPLA and therefore the planned strike action has been called off.

“This is great news for the airline, for our employees and also for customers, who can book with more confidence.”

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All the train strikes happening this summer

As well as tomorrow’s (30 July) rail strike, three more stoppages are planned so far during the month of August.

On 18 and 20 August, RMT union members working for 14 operators will stage industrial action, causing widespread disruption.

In between, on 19 August, a Tube strike is planned that could see the London Underground nearly entirely shut down.

Here’s everything you need to know:

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Which trains are running during drivers’ strike on 30 July?

Train drivers working for eight train operators and who are members of the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (Aslef) will walk out on Saturday 30 July. There will also be an impact on Sunday 31 July.

Aslef called the strike “after train companies failed to make a pay offer to keep pace with the increase in the cost of living”.

Drivers working for the following train operators will strike:

  • Chiltern Railways
  • Greater Anglia
  • Great Western
  • Hull Trains
  • LNER
  • London Overground (Arriva Rail London)
  • Southeastern
  • West Midlands Trains

London Overground and Southeastern will run no trains at all, while Chiltern plans to operate a full schedule.

Here’s everything you need to know about which train services will be running tomorrow:

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Why are train drivers striking tomorrow?

Tomorrow, train drivers across eight rail operators will walk out for 24 hours in a dispute over pay in the face of the cost of living crisis.

The Aslef union described the majorities in favour of action as “overwhelming”. Its London Overground members voted by a majority of 98.9 per cent, on a turn out of 93 per cent. Only seven drivers voted against action, with 637 in favour.

The lowest vote in favour was at GWR, with a majority of 86 per cent on turn out of 86 per cent.

Aslef’s general secretary, Mick Whelan, said: “We don’t want to inconvenience passengers – our friends and families use public transport, too – and we don’t want to lose money by going on strike but we’ve been forced into this position by the companies driven by the government.

“Many of our members – who were, you will remember, the men and women who moved key workers and goods around the country during the pandemic – have not had a pay rise since 2019.

“With inflation running at north of 10 per cent that means those drivers have had a real terms pay cut over the last three years. We want an increase in line with the cost of living – we want to be able to buy, in 2022, what we could buy in 2021.

“It’s not unreasonable to ask your employer to make sure you’re not worse off for three years in a row. Especially as the train companies are doing very nicely, thank you, out of Britain’s railways – with handsome profits, dividends for shareholders, and big salaries for managers – and train drivers don’t want to work longer for less.”

Here’s the background on the industrial action:

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Will trains be back to normal by Sunday?

The train operators who will be impacted by tomorrow’s strikes have warned the public that services may remain disrupted into Sunday morning (31 July).

TfL confirmed that there will be no London Overground service in the early hours of Sunday. “A good service is expected to resume by 09.00 on Sunday 31 July” it says on its website.

West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway have both said they will offer “limited services” on Sunday.

LNER warns: “There may be a significant number of changes to LNER timetables due to the industrial action [on 31 July]. Please check before you travel.”

Greater Anglia says: “The day after a strike day… Some morning services won’t run but we should go back to normal in the early afternoon.”

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