'Significant disruption' as rail routes reopen after strike

ScotRail ran just 12 routes in certain areas of the country on Friday and Saturday after RMT members at Network Rail walked out.

Scottish rail passengers warned of ‘significant disruption’ as network reopens following RMT strike iStock

Train passengers have been warned to expect “significant disruption” as services restart following 48 hours of strike action by rail workers.

ScotRail ran services on only 12 routes in the central belt, Fife, and the Borders on Friday and Saturday after Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) members at Network Rail walked out.

It followed two days of strike action earlier in the week after talks between the union and rail minister Huw Merriman on Thursday ended in a stalemate.

ScotRail said that passengers will still face disruption as RMT members return to work on Sunday, with some services starting later than usual.

The firm urged people to check their journey plans before travelling.

“There will be significant disruption across the country on Sunday due to the reopening of Network Rail signal boxes at different times throughout the day following strike action by Network Rail RMT members,” a statement read.

“Consequently services will start later than normal on some routes.”

The dispute does not involve ScotRail staff, but has been having a major impact on the train operator’s ability to provide services as the RMT industrial action involves Network Rail staff in Scotland.

Network Rail Scotland said: “Unfortunately, Sunday will also see disruption.

“Services will begin later in the morning due to the knock-on impact of industrial action on shift patterns, which are different across the country and reflect the normal timetable.”

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch says the union continues to receive strong support from the public.

He said: “It’s better we are talking than not, so the rail minister convened a meeting on Thursday with the RMT representatives along Network Rail and the train operators.

“We exchanged some ideas and some possibilities, there was no negotiations at that, nothing arising tangible out of that.

“But what he did, having heard that as the facilitator, as they describe themselves, and the people that ultimately own the purse strings, is he invited us and requested that we get together and hold further talks going forward and we’ll do that in the next period if the companies want to get engaged in it.”

Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said the RMT has “deliberately chosen to try and ruin Christmas for millions of passengers and businesses”.

He said: “In talks over the months we have sought to address all the RMT’s concerns by putting a decent pay rise on the table, guaranteeing a job for anyone that wants one, significantly raising base salaries for the lowest paid and offering a new, huge rail travel discount scheme for members and their families. By any reasonable measure, we have put a fair deal on the table.”

Mr Haines said that the industry will do all it can to keep services running and projects on track but warned that serious disruption is inevitable given the RMT’s action.

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