August bank holiday 3-day rail strike set to go ahead
Further talks between FGW and RMT union fail to resolve dispute
An August bank holiday, three-day rail strike, affecting First Great Western (FGW) rail services, is set to go ahead.
The RMT rail union has today (Thursday) confirmed the strike will start from 00.01am on Saturday (Aug 29), ending at 11.59pm on (bank holiday) Monday (Aug 31), after further talks with FGW failed to resolve the dispute, over the introduction of high speed trains.
RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash, said:
“Despite strenuous and continuing efforts by our negotiators we have not been able to secure the kind of progress we hoped for in the key areas of jobs, services and safety for us to reach an agreement.
“As a result we have no option but to push ahead with the action planned for this weekend."
According to FGW, during the strike, the majority of London Thames Valley services are likely to run, but long distance and local rail services will be reduced.
Those with advanced purchase tickets will be allowed to travel on the service immediate before, or after their booked train.
During the strike period, seat reservations may not be honoured, with limited catering facilities, and full refunds available to anyone who chooses not to travel, according to the rail company.
The dispute revolves around the introduction of Hitachi Inter City Express trains - set to deliver more seats and faster journey times.
Issues which the RMT said had not been resolved include the proposed introduction of driver-only operation, with door operation procedures to transfer from the guard to the driver.
This would impinge on the role of platform staff in the safe incoming and departure of trains at stations, according to the union.
The removal of buffet cars and introduction of on board catering facilities (trolley service) was also among unresolved issues.
The first Hitachi Class 800 Super Express train, which arrived in February for testing, will run on the Great Western main line from 2017 and the East Coast main line from 2018.
Alterations to FGW services over the three-day August bank holiday strike period include:
Reading - Gatwick will operate hourly and terminate at Redhill; rail users can complete their journey by using Southern Trains between Redhill and Gatwick
Reading - Basingstoke will run hourly in each direction
Maidenhead - Marlow will terminate at Bourne End; customers for Marlow will need to make alternative arrangements between Bourne End and Marlow
Oxford and Reading - London fast services will be operated by different trains to usual (turbo trains instead of high speed trains)
Services on the Cardiff - Portsmouth route will only operate every two hours in each direction between Swindon and Salisbury.
Cross Country Trains will accept FGW tickets between Saturday August 29 and Monday August 31 on the following routes:
Reading - Wokingham (only on Saturday 29 August)
Between Oxford, Reading and Basingstoke
The following train companies will accept FGW tickets during the bank holiday strike period:
Newport - Cheltenham Spa: Arriva Trains Wales
Gloucester - Bristol: Cross Country trains
For further details of alterations to FGW services during the bank holiday strike period, visit www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk.