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Rail strike Suffolk: Which trains and events are affected and will you be able to get ticket refunds?



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People in the county are being urged not to travel on the railway today as more than 40,000 workers walk out for three days of national strike action.

Described as the biggest dispute on the network for more than 30 years, the RMT union says it's 'shut down' the country's railways as its members protest against pay freezes and job cuts.

In a separate dispute over pensions and job losses London Underground RMT members are also set to join the strike action for one day as well.

People in the county are being urged not to travel on the railway today as more than 40,000 workers walk out for three days of national strike action. Stock image of Greater Anglia train
People in the county are being urged not to travel on the railway today as more than 40,000 workers walk out for three days of national strike action. Stock image of Greater Anglia train

The strikes will affect services across the network and millions of commuters are being urged to work from home if they can.

Greater Anglia, which serves Suffolk, has told people to only travel if it is necessary on strike days, as it will be running a much reduced train service today, Thursday and Saturday.

The company is advising people to plan ahead and check revised train times before deciding to travel, expect disruption and make alternative travel arrangements if they can.

A statement from Greater Anglia on the National Rail website said: "The RMT union is holding three 24-hour strikes on Tuesday 21, Thursday 23 and Saturday 25 June, with members of the train drivers union ASLEF also striking on Thursday 23 June – affecting all Greater Anglia and Stansted Express services.

"The industrial action includes Network Rail signallers who are members of the RMT union."

The RMT says the strike action will bring the network to a halt. Picture: iStock
The RMT says the strike action will bring the network to a halt. Picture: iStock

What Greater Anglia trains will be running during the strikes?

The company will be running a very reduced service and servicing London routes early.

There will be no regional or branch lines trains and no rail replacement buses.

Greater Anglia will not be running any services on its regional and branch lines, it added, while there will be a 'very limited' service on some routes to and from London Liverpool Street for part of the day. There will also be a reduced Stansted Express service.

There will be no services running on the following routes:

  • Between Norwich and Cambridge/Stansted Airport, Sheringham, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth
  • Between Ipswich and Cambridge, Peterborough, Felixstowe and Lowestoft
  • Between Marks Tey and Sudbury

  • All other branch lines: Hertford East to Broxbourne, Braintree to Witham, Southminster to Wickford, Harwich Town to Manningtree, Clacton-on-Sea/Walton-on-the-Naze to Colchester, Colchester Town to Colchester, Meridian Water to Stratford

A very limited and much reduced service - with fewer trains running and so fewer seats available - will run starting at 7.30am and finishing at 6.30pm on the following routes:

  • Norwich - London Liverpool Street intercity service – one train an hour
  • Colchester - London Liverpool Street stopping service – one stopping train an hour plus one intercity service an hour
  • Southend Victoria - London Liverpool Street – two trains an hour
  • Stansted Airport - London Liverpool Street (Stansted Express) – two trains an hour (reducing to one train an hour on Thursday, when train drivers are also on strike)
  • Cambridge - London Liverpool Street – one train an hour with some possible further alterations on Thursday, when train drivers are also on strike

How are Greater Anglia trains affected on the day after the strikes?

Trains the day after each strike will start later than usual and won’t be back to normal full service until early afternoon.

Some morning peak trains will be cancelled and the majority of services will not start until after 7am-7.30am, later still on branch lines. Passengers are advised to check times before travelling.

What can you do if you already have a ticket to use on a Greater Anglia service?

Greater Anglia has advised the following travel options:

  1. Travel on a different day with the same ticket: Daily tickets dated for 21, 23 and 25 June, can be used to travel the day before a strike day up to and including Tuesday, June 28.
  2. You'll need to buy new London Underground tickets for that portion of your journey.
  3. Change your ticket to a different date: Advance, Anytime, Off-peak and Super Off-Peak tickets can be changed to a different date with no admin fee, through their Book with Confidence policy.
  4. For online purchases through Greater Anglia, you can do this by logging into your account.
  5. Don’t travel and claim a refund: For details on how to claim a refund, visit the Greater Anglia website

More than 40,000 RMT members are walking out. Picture: iStock
More than 40,000 RMT members are walking out. Picture: iStock

Yesterday afternoon, the RMT union confirmed the rail strikes would go ahead after last-ditch talks failed to resolve the row over pay, jobs and conditions.

There are also concerns the strikes could impact pupils due to take their GCSEs this week if they cannot catch a train to school.

Why are RMT members going on strike?

The national rail strike is a dispute between rail bosses and union members over pay and job cuts.

The union claims Network Rail and the train operators have subjected their staff to 'multi-year pay freezes' while also planning to cut thousands of jobs, which it says will make the railways unsafe.

RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, had previously said he's organising 'a sustained campaign of industrial action which will shut down the railway system' if he couldn't get a deal for his members, all of which - he says - are facing a cost of living crisis like the rest of the country.

The ballot for strike action opened at the end of April and the RMT said its members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the action.

How will services be affected?

The RMT union, which has called the strike, says more than 40,000 of its members will walk out over the three days plunging train services into chaos.

Each strike will last 24 hours which is expected to cause significant disruption and will probably leave between only 15% and 20% of lines open for trains, which train companies may not be able to run and staff anyway.

Greater Anglia, which runs trains between Suffolk and the capital, is among the train operating companies affected.

Three days of disruption to the railways is planned for this month. Photo: Stock image.
Three days of disruption to the railways is planned for this month. Photo: Stock image.

Which big events are affected by the strikes?

Alongside disrupting those who commute to the office daily, or use the railways for essential travel, a number of big events from music concerts to sports competitions are set to be affected by the strike action, which could leave hundreds of thousands of ticket holders now needing to find alternative arrangements.

Among the biggest events is Glastonbury between June 22 and 26, the England test cricket match in Leeds between June 23 and 27, the British Athletics Championships in Manchester from June 24 to 26, Elton John's concert in Hyde Park on June 24, Armed Forces Day on June 25 and the Rolling Stones concert, also in London's Hyde Park on June 25.

The strikes will cause disruption for those going to the Rolling Stones concert in Hyde Park. Picture: Jim Pietryga
The strikes will cause disruption for those going to the Rolling Stones concert in Hyde Park. Picture: Jim Pietryga

What about those already with train tickets?

Those with train tickets who had plans to travel but who either choose not to or who can't travel because their services become cancelled because of the disputes, should be able to claim a refund says the Rail Delivery Group.

While Network Rail says it is now steadily putting in place plans to help people who may have already purchased train tickets for dates now affected by strike action.

This could include giving customers their money back, extending the validity of non-season tickets for the day before or up to two days after strike action or enabling travellers to use tickets on another operator or an alternative route.

You can read about the latest options that might be available to ticket holders, as train operators rush to establish which services they can run, here.

Despite lengthy talks the RMT has not been able to secure a pay proposal nor a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies.

People are being asked to not travel on the days of strike action. Photo: iStock
People are being asked to not travel on the days of strike action. Photo: iStock

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "Railway workers have been treated appallingly and despite our best efforts in negotiations, the rail industry with the support of the government has failed to take their concerns seriously.

"We have a cost-of-living crisis and it is unacceptable for railway workers to either lose their jobs or face another year of a pay freeze when inflation is at 11.1% and rising."

Andrew Haines, Network Rail’s chief executive, added: "We know that the cost of living has increased and we want to give our people a pay rise, but the RMT must recognise we are a public body and any pay increase has to be affordable for taxpayers and passengers.

"Travel habits have changed forever and the railway must change as well.

"We cannot expect to take more than our fair share of public funds, and so we must modernise our industry to put it on a sound financial footing for the future.

"Failure to modernise will only lead to industry decline and more job losses in the long run."