First Great Western has confirmed it expects to run the majority of London Thames Valley services but long distance and local rail services will be significantly reduced, should the planned strike action by RMT members go ahead next week.
While the company is due to meet with the RMT on Monday 06 July, should the industrial action go ahead it is likely to affect long distance and local rail services from Thursday 09 July until the morning of Saturday 11 July. Capacity will be limited and trains will be very busy.
An overtime ban on Saturday 11 July could also mean late notice changes or possible cancellations. Levels of service will vary by area due to the availability of trained staff to safely operate services.
An overview of the services we expect to run is set out below and is available on our website www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk. Customers with tickets for the dates affected can chose to travel on either Wednesday 8 July or Saturday 11 July and are recommended to do so, subject to any travel restrictions that would normally apply to your ticket.
We ask holders of Advance Purchase tickets to travel as close to possible to their original booked time. For travel on the days affected Advance Purchase tickets will additionally be valid on the train immediately before or after the booked time. Full refunds will be available for customers who choose not to travel. Should the strike go ahead, we will also make arrangements to compensate Season Ticket holders for the days affected.
Further details including timings are being developed and will be released as soon as confirmed.
First Great Western Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:
"We are pleased that we have been able to identify a number of routes and services where we can continue to offer a service. This is limited and in some areas services are significantly impacted. However we recommend customers check the website for full details next week as they may find that travel by train is unaffected.
“This is not true in every case and we recognise that for many of our customers the RMT’s decision to ask their members to strike will cause considerable inconvenience.
“This industrial action is about the new trains we are bringing into operation, the largest fleet upgrade on the Great Western for a generation, which will shave journey times by as much as 17 minutes, and provide the extra seating capacity we know our customers want to see. In order to be able to do this we need to operate these trains differently to the way we operate our current 40 year-old High Speed Trains. The best way to make the most of these new trains, in an efficient and safe way, is by the use of driver operation of the doors.
"41% of RMT members who work for us voted in favour of this action and we are disappointed that our assurances over job security; the need for more, not fewer staff; and our commitment to maintaining existing pay and conditions for affected staff have not been heard.
"All of the issues raised by the RMT have been discussed with representatives and we believe we have made some progress. We are continuing to meet and I very much hope that the RMT will not go ahead with the strike.”
Please note that it is unlikely that we will be able to honour seat reservations on these days, but should you choose to alter your travel plans we can change the reservation without penalty.
Night Riviera Sleeper
Sleepers are cancelled from Wednesday 08 July
London Thames Valley
Services will operate as normal with the following alterations:
• Between Reading and Gatwick: Hourly
• Between Reading and Basingstoke: Hourly
• Services between Maidenhead and Marlow will terminate at Bourne End
• Oxford, Reading, London fast services will be operated by turbo trains
• Between London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads, extending to Weston-Super-Mare and Taunton during the peak: One train an hour
• Services between Cardiff and Portsmouth will operate between Bristol Parkway and Salisbury: Every two hours
• Between Bristol Temple Meads and Gloucester: Every two hours
• Between London Paddington and Cardiff via Bristol Parkway. Services will extend to Swansea only in the peak: One train an hour
• Cardiff to Taunton services will not run. Customers for those services will be able to travel to Bristol Parkway and change at Bristol Temple Meads and station to Weston-Super-Mare/Taunton
• Arriva Trains Wales are expecting their services between Cardiff and Swansea to be busy during the period of industrial action and are looking to add extra capacity and services where possible
• Between Cheltenham Spa and London Paddington: One train per morning and evening peak
• Between Hereford/Worcester and London Paddington: One train per morning and evening peak
Devon and Cornwall
• Between London Paddington and Plymouth: One train every two hours
• Between Penzance and Plymouth: One train every two hours
• Between Exeter and Exmouth: Every two hours
• Between Exeter and Paignton: Every two hours
• Between Barnstaple and Exeter: One per peak
• Between Plymouth a Gunnislake: One per peak
The Night Riviera sleeper service is cancelled on Wednesday 08 and Thursday 09 July, but will operate on Friday 10 July.
Unfortunately we will not be able to operate the following branch line services:
• Between Severn Beach and Bristol Temple Meads
• Between Weymouth and Westbury
• Between Swindon and Westbury via Melksham
• Between Looe and Liskeard
• Between Newquay and Par
• Between Falmouth and Truro
• Between Greenford and Paddington