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Trains running during strike 'dangerously overcrowded'

The RMT union have criticised the trains running during the strike. Credit: ITV News

A rail union have called the train services running during the current 48-hour strike unsafe.

The RMT union, whose members are striking in a dispute over job losses, safety and buffet cars on new trains, say First Great Western's current emergency "skeleton service", is "dangerously overcrowded" and staffed by people without the right training.

The union say they will be taking this up formally.

First Great Western denied that the trains are overcrowded, and told us staff working on them are fully trained.

"We've got fully competent managers working on these trains who would normally manage the people who are striking.

"Our utmost priority is keeping people moving safely and as quickly as possible."

"Our approach to keeping trains moving during this process has been sanctioned by the Rail Safety Standards Board - we would not be able to run these services if it hadn't been."

– First Great Western
First Great Western staff picketing Bristol Temple Meads station. Credit: ITV News

The 48-hour strike started on Wednesday night and is set to end at 6.30pm on Friday evening. Staff have been out picketing stations today.

"The anger of staff is clear as the action bites and it is now down to the company to recognise that and get back round the table to address the serious issues at the core of this dispute."

– RMT General Secretary Mick Cash

First Great Western say 10% fewer staff have walked out than they were expecting; however the strike has still affected almost 40% of their services.

More trains after fewer rail workers strike than expected

Although fewer workers have walked out than expected, the strike is still affecting nearly 40% of services. Credit: ITV News

First Great Western says it should be running more train services during the current rail strike because fewer staff walked out than they expected.

The company says 10% more staff showed up for work than they were expecting.

However it still means that nearly 40% of FGW rail services are affected.

Those travelling can find live service updates here.

Credit: ITV News

The strike, which started last night and is set to end at 6.30pm on Friday evening comes after talks broke down between the RMT union and the company over the new Hitachi Inter-City trains in 2017.

The union have said First Great Western failed to provide "very basic assurances" about safety concerns and job losses. However the company say they have tried to address the concerns and that the new trains cannot be operated "in the same way as the trains we run today, which were built in the 1970s."

They have also played down the possibility of job losses, and say they are "keen to continue discussions with the union".


Plans unveiled for improved cycle routes around new Bristol Arena

Plans have been unveiled for improved pedestrian and cycle routes around Temple Meads Station and the new Bristol Arena.

It's hoped the new routes will improve connectivity to the new arena site and have been named 'Temple Greenways'. The routes will link to Totterdown Basin, a little known green oasis where the Floating Harbour meets the Feeder Canal.

Plans for pedestrian and cycle routes around the new Bristol Arena have been unveiled Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Proposals include a new pedestrian and cycle waterside boardwalk, and new paths and seating areas around Totterdown Basin and The New Cut.

Changes are also planned for Cattle Market Road, which will become one-way eastbound for traffic.

Locals, business owners and commuters are now invited to share their views on the proposals. There will be a drop in session on March 26, between 5.30 - 8.30pm.

Workers protest against the removal of buffet cars on trains

Union says removing buffet cars on West Country tains will lead to an elitist transport system Credit: ITV West Country

A rail union will protest across the region today in a campaign against the removal of buffet cars on First Great Western trains.

The RMT says losing the buffet cars will lead to job losses and an 'upstairs downstairs' service on West Country trains. Events will be taking place at Bath Spa and Bristol Temple Meads from 7 o clock this morning.

Work begins over Christmas to create new route to the West

Disused royal mail conveyor will be removed from Bristol Temple Meads station on Christmas day Credit: ITV West Country

Work will begin at Bristol Temple Meads station tonight to remove the disused mail conveyor.

It will begin the process of the electrification of the main line to the South West - which is expected to be finished by 2017. The work to remove the old Royal Mail conveyor will be finished while the station is closed on Christmas day.


TRAVEL: Train disruptions at Bristol Temple Meads

First Great Western: Replacement bus service running between Bristol Temple Meads and Weston-super-Mare, and between Bristol Temple Meads and Taunton due to person hit by a train at Worle. Tickets being accepted on CrossCounty and First Bus services.

Crosscountry: Tickets being accepted on First Group services. Diversions via Westbury where possible. Delays of up to 45 minutes.

  1. Laura Makin-Isherwood

Noticed the new art installation at Temple Meads?

If you're travelling through Bristol Temple Meads this week you might notice something different as you approach the station. A new art installation highlighting the city's famous graffiti culture has been put in place - and it's quite a contrast to Brunel's famous architecture.

It's to celebrate the launch of the latest project to regenerate the run down Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. There are already plans for a 12,000 seater arena, now the Council want the public to make their mark too.