Major stations deserted as rail strikes hit FA Cup final, Epsom

Sunday, Jun 04, 2023

LONDON: Two of the busiest train stations in London were almost empty on Saturday morning as train strikes continue into their second day.Around 12,000 members of the drivers’ union Aslef and the Rail, Maritime and Train (RMT) union are on strike over pay and working conditions, affecting 15 train companies.

Platforms at Euston Station in London were closed with just a few London Overground trains running, while Avanti and Northwestern services were cancelled.The major transport hub connects London to cities including Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Meanwhile, Paddington Station, which manages trains to Wales, Devon, Cornwall and south-west England, was only operating an hourly service to Bristol Temple Meads.

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan has said strikes could continue for years until a resolution is found. He told Sky News: “We do not want to be on strike. But we are in this if it takes us four years, five years, whatever it is, to get a resolution to this, we will do what it takes to get to that resolution.

“We have gone four years without a pay rise, as have many other sectors and many other workers. “But to stop now after four years, what will happen, we’ll not get a pay rise next year, the year after, the year after that.” He said nobody has come to them to say they want to resolve the issue, adding that nobody from the Government has spoken to them in more than six months.The mass walkout by Union members comes on a busy day for the capital, with the FA Cup final taking place at Wembley, as well as a Test match at Lord’s and the Epsom Derby.

Around 40 per cent of trains are affected by the strikes, according to the Rail Delivery Group (RDG). Trains that do run are due to start later and finish much earlier than usual, between 7.30am and 6.30pm. RDG has advised travellers to check routes before they travel and prepare for disruption.