Railway passengers have been given more information about the impact of a fresh wave of strikes, with warnings of widespread disruption to services.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) and Unite are taking industrial action from Saturday in the long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.
Strikes will be held on Saturday, as well as November 7 and 9, crippling services on those days and causing delays in between the walkouts.
Network Rail (NR) urged passengers to only travel if absolutely necessary, warning that on strike days only one in five trains will run, and only between 7.30am and 6.30pm.
Network Rail (NR) urged passengers to only travel if absolutely necessary James Manning
A Great Western Rail train Andrew Matthews
Rugby fans attending the Wales versus New Zealand game at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday are told to not travel by train.
On strike days across NR’s Western route – between Penzance and London Paddington – passengers were warned to expect an extremely limited service with no CrossCountry trains running and no services south west of Weston-super-Mare, including the whole of Devon and Cornwall.
It was also announced that a very limited GWR service will run on the following routes between: London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads, London Paddington and Cardiff Central, London Paddington and Oxford, Reading and Basingstoke, Oxford and Didcot Parkway, Cardiff Central and Westbury via Bristol Parkway, Bristol Temple Meads and Weston-super-Mare, and Branch lines serving Windsor, Marlow and Henley-on-Thames.
Up to 35,000 people normally travel into Cardiff by train for international rugby matches, with more than 20,000 getting a return home.
Due to the strike, inbound capacity by rail in the hours leading up to kick-off (15.15) will be heavily reduced – two thirds lower than usual – and there will be no trains scheduled from Cardiff after the match.
The next phase of Elizabeth line services will be launched on Sunday, with the lines from Reading, Heathrow, and Shenfield connecting with the central tunnels of the new cross-London route.
While this is not on a strike day, services will start later than usual and passengers are encouraged to check on the TfL website for the latest timetable information during the week of strike action.
Network Rail’s interim Western route director, David Davidson, said: “I would like to sincerely apologise to passengers for another period of disruption owing to this latest strike action.
“Our message to passengers is clear – please only travel if absolutely necessary. For those passengers who must travel by train during time, please expect severe disruption, plan ahead and check the time of your last train home.
“Please continue to check with your train operator on the services they are running or visit the National Rail Enquiries website for more information.”