Rail strikes called off in wake of Queen’s death – but train drivers warn it’s only a postponement

‘Aslef is postponing its industrial action on 15 September,’ said the train drivers’ union

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Friday 09 September 2022 15:56 BST
<p>Normal service: Waterloo station in London, the busiest transport terminal in Britain </p>

Normal service: Waterloo station in London, the busiest transport terminal in Britain

Within hours of the news of death of the Queen, the RMT union called off its national rail strikes planned for Thursday and Saturday next week, on 15 and 17 September.

The general secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “RMT joins the whole nation in paying its respects to Queen Elizabeth.

“The planned railway strike action on 15 and 17 September is suspended.

“We express our deepest condolences to her family, friends and the country.”

Aslef, the train drivers’ union, has called off its industrial action planned for Thursday 15 September. But the union made clear the walk-out was merely deferred, saying: “In light of the sad news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Aslef is postponing its industrial action on 15 September.”

Lumo, which runs trains from London to Newcastle and Edinburgh, tweeted: “The whole railway family is united in sending our condolences to the Royal Family.

“We welcome the decision by the unions to call off next week’s strike action at a time of national mourning.”

Train operators and Network Rail had been making plans that assumed the strikes would be going ahead. Because train crew rosters are typically assigned a week ahead, there could still be some disruption on Thursday as schedules are redrawn.

But Network Rail signallers will work normally, meaning the entire network should be accessible.

Train operators are working on plans to enable people from across Great Britain to pay their respects to the Queen as she lies in state at Westminster Hall in central London.

East Midlands Railway said: “We are working with the rail industry to enable members of the public to pay their respects.

“We will provide further updates via our website.

There are likely to be additional trains to and from London, possibly with Avanti West Coast temporarily restoring some of the services from Manchester and Birmingham currently axed due to staff shortage.

In addition, fare conditions could be relaxed – for example classifying all services as off-peak over the appropriate days, to allow as many people as possible to travel at a reasonable cost.

On the day of the Queen’s funeral many public transport services may come to a standstill as staff mark the occasion.

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