Rail strikes: Further strike disruption hits Scotland’s railway as strikes look set to continue

Rail passengers in Scotland have been warned of significant disruption on Friday following two days of strike action earlier this week.

Train operator ScotRail said passengers should check their journeys in advance.

It said signalling boxes on the tracks will open at different times throughout Friday following the latest industrial action on Thursday, while there has also been a knock-on effect from overnight controllers being on strike.

A major rail route has reopened after a lorry ended up on the tracks.

Only a fifth of services will run and half of lines will be closed as 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail and 13 train operators walk out for the third day this week.

The vehicle left the road and crashed into a wall before landing on the East Coast Main Line at Haddington Road in Wallyford, East Lothian, on Thursday afternoon.

A 41-year-old man was taken to hospital with serious injuries following the crash.

Network Rail announced at around 11am on Friday that the line, just south of Edinburgh, had reopened and train operators were working to restart train services as soon as possible.

But London North Eastern Railway has urged passengers travelling between Edinburgh and Newcastle not to travel on Friday.

The RMT union has taken industrial action over a multi-year pay freeze and a lack of guarantee that there would be no compulsory redundancies across the network.

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Scottish organiser Gordon Martin said that members are “resolute”, and he welcomed the “overwhelming” public support. A further strike is planned for Saturday.

He said: “People understand what we’re doing and people are beginning to understand it’s not just about pay. It’s far from just about pay.

“In their workplaces they are finding how tough things are.

“The real crux of the matter is: it’s an attack on jobs, it’s an attack on terms and conditions.

“The real concern I’ve got is this imports serious danger into the railway for the train crew and for the travelling public.

“Because it stands to reason if you slaughter and slash and burn the workforce, at the same time as you cut the maintenance regime in half, the recipe for trains going down embankments and killing people is very real.”

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has said more strikes can be expected if a settlement is not reached with Network Rail and the UK’s rail operators.

He said: “In a modern economy, workers need to be properly rewarded for their work, enjoy good conditions and have the peace of mind that their job will not be taken away from them.

“What we cannot accept is thousands of railway workers being thrown on the scrapheap after being praised as heroes during Covid.

“RMT will continue its industrial campaign until a negotiated settlement is reached.”

The strike on Saturday is set to disrupt events such as Edinburgh’s Pride march.

March organiser Jamie Love said the strike is “disappointing”.

He added: “As Pride organisers, our whole job relies on making Pride accessible to those that really want to and maybe don’t have spaces like Pride anywhere near them.

“That’s the saddest and hardest part because obviously those are the people who are going to be impacted the most.

“That will be really quite sad and I know that people will be really upset by that.”

Disruption is expected to last into Sunday, with music fans attending the Liam Gallagher gig at Glasgow’s Hampden Park that evening being warned the last train from nearby Mount Florida station back into the city centre is set to leave before the end of the event.

Phil Campbell, ScotRail head of customer operations, said: “We’ll be doing what we can to help Liam Gallagher fans travel to Hampden Park on Sunday, but customers should plan ahead as services will be impacted by Saturday’s Network Rail RMT strike action, engineering work near Haymarket and Barrhead, and by the temporary timetable we currently have in place.”