Timetables recover slowly after strikes were cancelled

Many train operators are running more trains today, after their timetables were slashed in expectation of strikes on Saturday, today and Wednesday. But others are warning that service reductions will continue for now.

The RMT cancelled the walkouts on Friday afternoon because talks with Network Rail and the operators are now said to be progressing.

However, it is taking several days to restore all normal services, which some operators say is mainly because of the complexity of rearranging rosters.

Among individual operators, Transport for Wales is expecting to run most services from this morning, although some local disruption has not been ruled out. Greater Anglia is promising a full timetable from today, and so is Merseyrail, while ScotRail is expecting to restore all services from tomorrow.

Govia Thameslink is not expecting to be back to normal until Wednesday, while the recovery is slower on Northern, which said: ‘We are working up a plan to run a fuller service on Wednesday.’ TransPennine Express is also hoping to run more trains from Wednesday, and so is Chiltern Railways.

GWR has been unable to say when all its trains will run again, but warned disruption will be continuing today. West Midlands Railway services are also still reduced, and WMR has not yet said when full timetables will be restored.

LNER said that its reduced timetables will continue, saying only: ‘Due to the late notice of these cancelled strikes, there will be limited changes to the planned reduced timetables.’

Southeastern said its strike-day timetables will continue to apply, along with ‘limited changes to the planned reduced timetables’. South Western Railway services will also be limited today, but SWR said it could confirm that full services would be restored from Wednesday.

Avanti West Coast had been running a reduced service in any case, and it has also been unable to predict details of its service levels, saying only that it will still be providing only a limited ‘strike day’ timetable today and on Wednesday.

Avanti told its passengers: ‘We’re currently working hard to rebuild our timetable in a resilient and sustainable way that will allow us to gradually increase services without being reliant on traincrew overtime, which has fallen dramatically in recent weeks.

‘As a result, our upcoming timetables are being amended on a rolling basis and will be confirmed at shorter notice than usual. While the timetable is available on our website and app, some services are still subject to change or will not operate at all. We know we’re not delivering the service you rightly expect and we're sorry for the enormous frustration and inconvenience this is causing. We’d like to thank you for your continued patience and understanding.’

After the strikes had been called off, the Rail Delivery Group had said: ‘It is positive that the RMT leadership have stepped back from the brink and called off their strike action. Unfortunately, the late notice means that while train companies are working hard to reinstate services, they will remain severely disrupted for our passengers tomorrow and into the early part of next week.’

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