ScotRail announces 11 line closures if strikes go ahead

Eleven ScotRail-operated lines would be without trains in the event of a planned strike on Tuesday. Picture: John Devlin

Eleven ScotRail-operated lines would be without trains in the event of a planned strike on Tuesday. Picture: John Devlin

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Thousands of commuters face major disruption after ScotRail announced today that no trains would run on 11 lines if Tuesday’s conductors’ strike goes ahead.

Services would operate less frequently on other routes, with only electric trains in and around Glasgow unaffected.

Routes which would see all ScotRail trains cancelled include Edinburgh to North Berwick, Glasgow to Oban and Mallaig, and Inverness to Aberdeen, Wick, Kyle of Lochalsh.

There would also be no services between Ayr and Stranraer, Stirling and Alloa, and on the secondary Edinburgh-Glasgow line via Shotts.

Reduced services would operate on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line, and from Edinburgh to Tweedbank, Fife and Dunblane, between Edinburgh/Glasgow and Perth/Inverness, and Glasgow to East Kilbride.

Trains on those lines would only operate between 7am and 7pm.

However, the Edinburgh-Glasgow route via Bathgate would be among others to run as normal.

ScotRail’s 550 conductors are due to walkout for 24 hours on Tuesday after voting by three to one for action.

Further strikes have been called by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) for Thursday 23 June, Saturday-Sunday 25-26 June and Sundays 3, 10 and 17 July.

A ScotRail spokeswoman said: “We are working flat out to put in place the plans that will allow us to run as many services as possible on the strike days.

“We have already published details on routes that will be impacted and these can be found on our website – customers should refer to this information and plan ahead.

“We will operate the maximum number of services per day that we can.

“We have a responsibility to keep our customers and our country moving. This is a responsibility that we take seriously.”

Peace talks at the conciliation service Acas in Glasgow ended after two hours without agreement yesterday.

The dispute is over plans to downgrade conductors’ roles on a new fleet of trains due to start running on lines across the Central Belt from next year.

The RMT opposes the control of train doors and safety duties being transferred from conductors to drivers.

That system has operated on electric trains in and around Glasgow for 30 years - the ones that would remain running if the strikes go ahead.

Lower-paid ticket examiners would also replace conductors’ ticket checking role on some services.

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A spokesman for the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland, which controls the ScotRail franchise, said: “It is disappointing to see strike action being called while the prospect of further discussions between ScotRail and the RMT union is still on the table.

“This planned industrial action will have a significant impact on passengers that rely on these services.

“We urge both ScotRail and the RMT to reopen talks and work towards an agreement that will avoid any strikes.

“ScotRail staff and management have an enviable record in safety and passenger satisfaction. They must work together to keep it that way.”

Both sides in the dispute have accused each other of “intransigence”.

RMT Scotland regional organiser Mick Hogg said: “Talks broke down through the intransigence of ScotRail.

“There was a verbal offer put on Tuesday night by ScotRail that constituted potential progress.

“No such offer was made yesterday via Acas and no guarantees given. However, our door remains open to talk.

“RMT will continue the fight to ensure the guard [conductor] remains on the train, therefore keeping Scotland’s trains running.”

A ScotRail spokeswoman said: “Since the start of this dispute, we have made it clear we were willing to guarantee jobs, guarantee pay and guarantee terms and conditions for our conductors for the duration of the ScotRail franchise.

“This provides the certainty and security to our conductors that they have been telling us they want.

“We simply do not understand why the RMT seem so intent on having a strike that would disrupt our customers and hurt our people financially.

“Even though the RMT walked away from our talks, we will invite them back in for more discussions ahead of Tuesday.

“At the moment, our pragmatic approach is being met by intransigence. If that changes, we can find a resolution to this needless dispute.”

Full details of the disruption: https://www.scotrail.co.uk/about-scotrail/news/industrial-action-21-june-latest-information

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