Ministers updated on preparations for possible rail strike

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has chaired a meeting of the Scottish Government’s resilience committee to discuss contingency plans for next week’s proposed rail strike.

The potential action by Network Rail members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers , Transport and Salaried Staff (TSSA) and Unite includes operations, maintenance and station staff in Scotland. Across the UK, the strike will involve around 25,000 Network Rail staff, including signallers, maintenance workers and some station staff at large stations such as Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley.

Talks with ACAS are ongoing, however ScotRail have decided to release details of the reduced services now to give the public advance warning if the strike does go ahead next week:

In the event that the industrial action goes ahead, the ScotRail Alliance has been developing contingency plans to support the safe operation of services. Given the scale of industrial action planned, it is highly likely that a significant number of services will be cancelled or affected next Monday and Tuesday, starting at 7am on Monday, with a vastly reduced service and running through until Tuesday night.

A Multi-Agency Response Team (MART), involving representation from Network Rail, ScotRail, TrafficScotland, Police Scotland, and Operating Companies will be operational to monitor the situation on Bank Holiday Monday and into Tuesday, to help ensure the public has the latest information and agencies are equipped to respond to any major incidents.

Transport Scotland has also been liaising with airports, the bus industry and ferry operators to ensure the entire sector is aware of the potential knock-on effects in terms of longer queues and journey times on the roads, a potential shortage of or more crowded connecting services, and passengers and visitors being made aware of the disruption in advance.

Deputy First Minister, John Swinney said:

“I am concerned to hear about the planned national strike action but am encouraged that both parties are back round the table at ACAS trying to resolve the dispute. I would urge both parties to work together to deliver a solution. It is essential that disruption to passengers is avoided.

“The Scottish Government’s Resilience operation is actively monitoring developments and receiving regular updates from the ScotRail Alliance, Transport Scotland and other key operators, as well as local resilience partnerships, local authorities, and representatives from the education and health sectors. Contingency plans are being made by transport authorities but passengers should expect widespread cancellations and disruption on the railways. We would ask commuters to think now about the changes that they could make to help ease the pressure on the transport network - especially on Tuesday. This could include working from home, car-sharing, avoiding travel at peak periods, or using buses to get to work.”

Transport Minister, Derek Mackay said:

“We are fully expecting roads to be busier as a result of the rail strike and we are working with partners to do all we can to manage the likely increase in traffic. We will be monitoring the network from the Traffic Scotland National Control Centre and will be providing updates through the Traffic Scotland Twitter feed and website as well as internet radio. The Trunk Road Incident Support Service (TRISS) will be out from early morning patrolling the key parts of the network dealing with incidents as quickly as possible. Travel operators websites, Travel Line and Traffic Scotland will have all of the latest information and people should plan ahead and leave more time for their journey. Those travelling to the islands by ferry should also consider alternative options in relation to rail connections.”

Phil Verster, ScotRail Alliance Managing Director said:

“If this UK-wide 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 please 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 their journey. We have been in contact with employers and business organisations to let them know about the impact of the strike. We are also in touch with local authorities, the NHS and other public bodies to make sure that they are fully aware of what is happening.

“I am disappointed that our customers have to experience this level of disruption. We are doing everything we can to safely run as many services as is possible under the circumstances.”

Notes to editors

For live and up-to-the-minute traffic updates please follow us on Twitter @trafficscotland or alternatively download the Traveline Scotland app to your phone or tablet, this provides up-to-the-minute road updates, weather issues, journey planning, map views and much more to help you travel safely and efficiently.

Published 20 May 2015 Tags