A NATIONAL rail strike will have a severe impact on travellers in Scotland, with ScotRail bosses warning that if the action goes ahead next week it will only run a “handful of services”.
ScotRail will run a greatly reduced service on Monday and Tuesday if the national 24-hour strike, involving members of three trade unions, takes place as planned from 5pm on Monday.
Last night union leaders said the strike was still on after a day of talks with Network Rail, which took place at the conciliation service Acas.
Both sides said they are committed to the talks process which has been set up in an attempt to settle their differences.
Yesterday Phil Verster, the managing director of ScotRail Alliance – a joint body with Network Rail – said: “Many people right across the country are going to be seriously inconvenienced by this UK-wide industrial action.”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney has warned passengers to expect “widespread cancellations and disruptions on the railways”.
Mr Swinney has chaired a meeting of the Scottish Government’s resilience committee, where contingency plans for the strike were discussed.
ScotRail said it will not be able to operate most of its services if the action takes place, and has published details of a reduced timetable on its website.
Up to 25,000 Network Rail staff who are members of three unions – the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association and Unite – could take part in the strike.
The unions are taking industrial action in protest at pay levels lagging behind inflation, cost-cutting and reductions in signallers and maintenance staff.
If the action goes ahead, just six services in the central belt could run on Tuesday, with a further three routes in and out of Glasgow Central operating on Monday.
Mr Verster urged travellers to plan ahead, saying: “If this industrial action goes ahead as planned, the impact on customers is going to be severe. For the vast majority of people in Scotland, there will be no train service at all on these two days.
“We will only be able to run a handful of services, and those that we are able to run will operate on a reduced service. Those services will be much busier than usual so if customers are able to make other arrangements, I would kindly ask them to do so.
“We have released this information early because it is our priority to make sure that our customers have enough time to make decisions about journeys.”
Services which ScotRail will be able to run on a reduced basis:
MONDAY 25 MAY ONLY
Glasgow Central: Paisley Gilmour Street
Glasgow Central: Neilston via Queens Park
Glasgow Central: Newton via Maxwell Park
MONDAY 25 & TUESDAY 26 MAY
Edinburgh: Glasgow via Falkirk High
Edinburgh: Kirkcaldy – Glenrothes
Edinburgh: Cowdenbeath - Glenrothes
Glasgow Central: East Kilbride
Glasgow Queen St (High Level): Anniesland
Glasgow Queen St (Low Level): Cumbernauld