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First Great Western rail 24 hour strike goes ahead

This is the first of a series of strikes Credit: ITV Meridian

First Great Western say they hope to run around seventy per cent of services today despite a strike by members of the RMT union.

The company say worst hit will be long distance trains which pass through Reading, Swindon and Didcot. But many services in the Thames Valley are running.

Passengers are advised to check before they travel. The long running row is over the introduction of new high speed trains.

The strike will end at midnight.

But this is the first of a series of strikes that will hit millions of passengers over the next nine days.

On Tuesday the RMT have called a 24 hour walk-out on the London Underground starting at 1830. This will hit the rush hour that day and on Wednesday. Some Chiltern services in Buckinghamshire that share tube tracks will be hit.

On Thursday another 24 hour strike is due to start on the tube at 1830 hitting the evening rush hour on that day and all of Friday.

Around 500,000 passengers from the region who commute to London then use the tube to get to work.

The dispute is over running tube services overnight.

There is also a three day strike planned at First Great Western for next weekend which will badly affect the Reading Festival.

Final talks to try to resolve the separate disputes will be held tomorrow.

FGW strike set to go ahead after talks broke down

Staff who work for First Great Western will walk out on Sunday Credit: PA

A strike by workers at First Great Western, which runs services across the South East and Thames Valley is set to go ahead this weekend after talks failed to resolve a row over new trains.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union will walk out for 24 hours on Sunday, disrupting services.

"We have held a positive meeting with the RMT and while, disappointingly, no agreement has been reached, we plan to meet again on Monday. This means that the strike action planned by the RMT on Sunday is likely to go ahead.

"Trains will run to an amended timetable, with around 70% of our regular Sunday service running. Customers should check before they travel.

"The brand new Super Express Trains will deliver more seats, faster journey times and more frequent journeys for our passengers. Our plans mean more train managers and customer hosts on board our trains, not less."

– First Great Western spokesman
First Great Western staff striking Credit: ITV News

"Despite strenuous efforts we have failed to reach an agreement with First Great Western on the fundamental issues at the heart of the dispute over the introduction of the new Hitachi trains. As a result the action this Sunday goes ahead. The union remains available for talks."

– A union spokesman

Union members are also due to strike over the Bank Holiday weekend. The union says new trains will lead to job losses and cuts to on board catering facilities.

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FGW strike set to go ahead

A strike by workers at First Great Western is set to go ahead this weekend Credit: PA

A strike by workers at First Great Western is set to go ahead this weekend after talks failed to resolve a row over new trains.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union will walk out for 24 hours on Sunday, disrupting services.

A union spokesman said: "Despite strenuous efforts we have failed to reach agreement with First Great Western on the fundamental issues at the heart of the dispute over the introduction of the new Hitachi trains. As a result the action this Sunday goes ahead. The union remains available for talks."

"We have held a positive meeting with the RMT today and while, disappointingly, no agreement has been reached, we plan to meet again on Monday. This means that the strike action planned by the RMT on Sunday is likely to go ahead.

"Trains will run to an amended timetable, with around 70% of our regular Sunday service running. Customers should check before they travel. The brand new Super Express Trains will deliver more seats, faster journey times and more frequent journeys for our passengers. "Our plans mean more train managers and customer hosts on board our trains, not less."

– First Great Western spokesman

Union members are also due to strike over the Bank Holiday weekend. The union says new trains will lead to job losses and cuts to on board catering.

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Talks underway to prevent First Great Western strike

The RMT union is protesting about changes to guards' duties Credit: ITV

Talks are underway today to avert a strike at First Great Western. The RMT union is unhappy at plans to change guards' duties on trains and do away with buffet cars.

The row centres on the introduction of the new Hitachi bullet-style trains, with a union ballot starting on Friday.

The company say no jobs will be lost and the changes allow for new technology to be introduced. Any action would cause chaos for hundreds of thousands of passengers on key routes in Hampshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey.

Drivers will close automatic doors in the future rather than guards who currently close and lock slam doors. The union say guards' safety duties are being downgraded and passengers will suffer from worse catering with no buffet cars.

Train reverses back to original destination because muddled driver got on wrong train

First Great Western Train Credit: PA

A rail company is investigating how one of its drivers took the wrong train out of a station in Oxfordshire. The First Great Western driver and his "pilotman" train manager joined a train at Banbury and thought they were heading for London.

But in fact the train was going the other way towards Reading and Didcot and, ultimately, Swansea. It was decided the best course of action was for the train to return to Banbury where the crew boarded the correct train to Paddington station in London.

The "real" Paddington train was delayed for around half an hour at Banbury while other trains were held up as they made way for the return to Banbury of the "wrong" train. The incident happened on Easter Monday evening, prompting Graham Henry to tweet the FGW announcement: "Ladies and gentleman, sorry for this delay ... we've found out we've picked up the wrong driver and have to reverse."

Another tweeter, Master Keys, wrote:

"Stuck on delayed train because a driver ahead has taken the wrong train on the wrong route!"

An FGW spokesman said: "We are looking into what happened. The crew got on the wrong train. We are really sorry about this."

The incident brings back memories of the old music hall song Oh! Mr Porter which was often sung by Marie Lloyd.

The lyrics go:

Oh! Mr Porter, what shall I do, I wanted to go to Birmingham, and they've taken me on to Crewe, Take me back to London, as quickly as you can Oh! Mr Porter what a silly girl I am.

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