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Travellers warned of 'standstill' on rail network because of strike

Rail passengers are being warned that services will be at a "standstill" the morning after the Bank Holiday because of a strike by Network Rail workers.

Engineering works are also scheduled for when the strike is on Credit: PA Wire

The action by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, who will walk out from 5pm on 25 May and ban overtime for 48 hours, will be exacerbated by engineering work being conducted by Network Rail at the same time.

The union said services will be hit from the Monday but warned that the biggest impact will be on the Tuesday.

"Services will be at a standstill," said one official.

Thousands of football fans of the clubs involved in the League I and Championship play-off finals at Wembley will be particularly hit by the disruption.

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Rail strike first industrial relations test for new government

Network's Rail's 24-hour strike over the Spring bank holiday is the first test of industrial relations for the new Conservative government.

RMT members will walk out on Bank Hliday Monday Credit: PA Wire

The Tories are planning tough new laws to stymie the power of the unions in calling strikes but with an 80% ballot turnout, the RMT was well above the government's proposed threshold.

RMT leader Mick Cash said: " We have a massive mandate for action which shows the anger of safety-critical staff across the rail network at attacks on their standards of living and their job security.

"It is appalling that NR are refusing point blank to take this dispute seriously, to understand the deep-seated grievance felt by their staff and to come forward with a renewed offer which protects pay, jobs and safety."

Network Rail: 'Server for train information screen crashed'

Network Rail: 'Server for train information screen crashed' Credit: PA

Widespread commuter travel delays and chaos this morning have been caused by a "server crash" which meant that information to display screens was not being updated, Network Rail has confirmed.

The server that provides information to display screens crashed this morning and had to be restarted and should catch up later today. This has nothing to do with the system that locates where trains are or track safety.

– Network Rail spokesperson

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Top 10 most overcrowded train services to be revealed

The Government is expected to publish its report on rail overcrowding in England and Wales later this morning.

Increasing capacity is an argument used to defend projects like HS2 and Crossrail. Credit: PA

The annual list from the Department of Transport will include a list of the top 10 most overcrowded train services in the country.

Last year, the 8:27am service from London Heathrow to Paddington emerged as the most overcrowded with 786 passengers cramming into space for 476.

The 6:13pm service London Euston to Birmingham New St station was the second worst, with a train loaded with 1149 passengers when it only had capacity for 698.

HS2 'will start in 2017', Transport Secretary confirms

Tonight's vote in Parliament on the HS2 bill means the high-speed rail line will begin construction in 2017, the Transport Secretary has confirmed.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin at the proposed site of the HS2 East Midlands Hub in Long Eaton Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Patrick McLoughlin also tried to calm the fears of anti-HS2 campaigners over the impact of the proposed route on their areas, saying:

"I am aware of the concerns some who live very close to the HS2 route have. I am confident however that by working together we can ensure this vital new north-south railway is designed in the right way, and we will have spades in the ground in 2017 as planned."

Some rail not 'commercially viable' without funding

Some rail services would not be "commercially viable" without extra funding from the taxpayer, a Government spokesman has said.

A Department for Transport spokesman defended the Government's record on rail spending, arguing the transport service delivered wider "social, environmental and economic benefits":

Subsidy and premium differ across the UK, even at a regional level, because of variations in demand and costs, with some busier services requiring less Government support.

Many services would not be commercially viable without taxpayer funding, and we subsidise them because they deliver wide social, environmental and economic benefits to their communities.

– A Department for Transport spokesman

Rail fares brought in '£7.7bn total' last year

Some £7.7bn in revenue was generated just through rail fares last year, with higher passenger numbers credited with the 3.6% rise on the amount brought in during 2011/12, according to a report from the regulator.

According to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) report covering April 2012- March 2013:

  • The cost of running Britain's railways was £12.3 billion in 2012-13. This overall cost has remained consistent over the past three years.
  • The industry earned nearly £3 billion from discounted tickets (such as advance, off-peak, super-off peak and special offers) - amounting to more than 40% of the total passenger income.
  • Rolling stock charges paid by Virgin Trains, for example, were £302 million but those paid by East Coast were £53 million.
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