Network Rail: Only one in 10 trains will run next week should strike go ahead, leaked memo claims

Strike will be the largest to hit the UK in 20 years

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The Independent Online

A leaked document has revealed that Network Rail expects only one in 10 trains to run should next week’s strike go ahead.

The confidential document, seen by The Guardian, shows that Gatwick airport will be cut off – during a peak holiday week – and Scotland effectively isolated with no trains on the mainline between Newcastle and Edinburgh. 

A Network Rail spokesperson confirmed to The Independent that the figures were “broadly right” but declined to comment further.

Alongside the chaos that the strike would bring to travellers, the documents allegedly shows that major businesses may suffer as a result of the strike scheduled to begin at 5pm on Monday.

On Thursday TSSA, the smaller of the two unions who voted in favour of striking, pulled out of the action. The union tweeted the decision, claiming that an "improved offer" had suspended their action.

Mail services and freight links, as well as iron production at Tata Steelworks, would all be adversely affected as major business contracts shift from rail to road, the Guardian claims.

Passengers have been warned that many services will be affected, with CrossCountry Trains, Chiltern Railways, Arriva Trains Wales, First Great Western and ScotRail services all expected to be disrupted.

Earlier today Virgin Trains, which is one of the main operators on the busy north-south intercity link, said it would not be running services along the West Coast service line, also admitting that even if the strike were called off many of the services would still not run.

South West Trains, the biggest commuter network, has also said that it will not be running any services on Tuesday.

Network Rail intends to publish a full timetable on Sunday evening – the last moment the organisation hopes that strikes can be averted.

Late-night talks yesterday have entered their fourth day as rail and union bosses wrangling over long-running pay and job guarantees.

The document leak also highlights the importance of a legal challenge mounted by National Rail over the strike ballot result from TSSA union.

Although RMT members voted four to one (of a 60 per cent turnout) in favour of striking their colleagues in TSSA – who represents approximately 3,000 white-collar workers – chose to strike on a much narrower turnout. 

Network Rail hopes that if it manages to legally overturn the TSSA strike it will be able to run around half the normal service to Gatwick airport on Tuesday.

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