Scotland’s rail network is expected to suffer significant disruption this week as a result of strike action.
Members of the RMT union who work for Network Rail announced they will walk out on Thursday and Saturday this week over a pay dispute.
While the dispute does not involve ScotRail – the publicly-owned train operator north of the border – signallers will be among those who will be striking, which will have a knock-on effect that will see most services cancelled.
Previous strike action by the union allowed just 189 services to go ahead, but that figure will increase to 378 during this round as trains are set to reach Fife and the east coast.
There will be two trains per hour between Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street, Edinburgh and Helensburgh Central, Glasgow Central and Hamilton, Glasgow Central and Lanark, Edinburgh and Inverkeithing, Edinburgh and Tweedbank and Milngavie and Springburn.
There will be one train per hour on the impacted days between Edinburgh and Glasgow Central, Edinburgh and North Berwick, Glasgow Queen Street and Larbert, and Glasgow Queen Street and Falkirk Grahamston.
The services will run between 7.30am and the final train will leave “well before” 6.30pm, the operator said.
ScotRail has also stressed that people should travel only if it is absolutely necessary.
“It is very unfortunate to see such widespread disruption across the whole of the Great Britain rail network and we know this will be frustrating for ScotRail customers,” said David Simpson, the operator’s service delivery director.
“Regrettably, this strike action by RMT members of Network Rail means that we will not be able to operate the vast majority of our services during the period of strike action.
“Customers should expect significant disruption to services on strike days, as well as the following day.
“We are able to operate on more routes than on the previous day of strike action, however, we are still only able to run a very limited number of services on these routes, so we’re advising customers to seek alternative means of transport and to only travel if they really need to.”
RMT secretary general Mick Lynch said the dispute was “not just about a wage rise”.
“The Government and the employers want to slash jobs, terms and conditions as well as services like ticket offices,” he said.
“The transport minister Grant Shapps is now threatening our members with P&O style fire and rehire and the reintroduction of Driver Only Operated services, which will lead to a fall in safety standards and job losses.
“If Mr Shapps proceeds on this course, RMT will use the industrial mandate it has from its 40,000 members in this dispute to take more strike action in the coming weeks and months,”
Disruption is also likely to be felt the day after the strikes, with signal boxes in the central belt able to be turned on at around 7.15am, but it could take into the afternoon, ScotRail said, to restore services in other areas.
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