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Bank holiday rail strike called off

First Great Western expects to run its full advertised timetable. Credit: Fiona Hanson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The planned rail strike on bank holiday Monday has been cancelled after the TSSA and RMT unions received a new pay offer from Network Rail.

The industrial action has been called off pending the outcome of a meeting with Network Rail representatives next week.

Rail strike affecting bank holiday weekend

Rail workers have voted for industrial action. Credit: iona Hanson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

There will be a rail strike during the bank holiday weekend - Network Rail employees in the RMT and TSSA unions have voted for industrial action, affecting services on bank holiday Monday (25 May), as well as Tuesday 26 May and the morning of Wednesday 27 May.

First Great Western say refunds are available for customers who have already bought tickets during the strike period, and those with tickets for travel on Monday and Tuesday may also be use them on Sunday Wednesday.

They hope to operate the following services in our region:

  • Paddington – Plymouth, calling at Reading, Bristol Parkway, Bristol Temple Meads, Taunton, Tiverton, Exeter, Dawlish, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot, Totnes, Ivybridge (select trains only) and Plymouth: Hourly
  • Exeter – Newton Abbot, stopping service: Hourly

The following services will not be running in our region from 00:01 Monday 25 May, and will be in delays on the Wednesday morning:

  • Beyond Plymouth to Penzance and on Devon and Cornwall branch line services
  • Between Reading and Taunton

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Dispute at First Great Western

RaIl union RMT confirmed today that it has declared a dispute and is preparing an industrial action ballot on Great Western services.

The union is opposing plans to axe guards and catering services on the new Inter City Express trains being supplied by Hitachi.

Union members will vote on whether to strike Credit: PA

First Great Western workers strike

First Great Western workers strike over a row about the dismissal of a colleague Credit: PA

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at First Great Western began a 24 hours strike at 4am today (Friday March 27th) over a row about the dismissal of a colleague.

The dispute include guards, train drivers and managers in Penzance.

The announcement comes in the same week the rail company was awarded a 42-month extension on its franchise by the Government.

It is clear from the two disputes we are engaged in that there is a culture of bullying and intimidation of staff rife within the money-spinning racket which is the First Great Western operation.

RMT will not allow this culture to go unchallenged and the union will defend both our individual members and the principle of workplace justice. The union remains available for talks in both disputes.

– Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary

First Great Western is reassuring passengers strike action will not impact its services.

We can confirm that a member of staff was recently dismissed for allowing the doors of a train to remain open while in passenger service, and failing to report the incident to anyone for over a month.

The member of staff was not an RMT member at the time of the incident, and we are surprised that they have decided to support these actions, which put his safety, and the safety of his colleagues and our passengers at risk.

The RMT has a track record of taking a strong stance on the safety of its members and passengers, and today's action seems inconsistent with those messages. We do not expect this action to impact services for customers, and continue to talk to the RMT about this issue.

– First Great Western

New deal for rail passengers in the south west

The Department of Transport has announced plans to improve rail services into and out of the south west. It's also announced an extension of the rail franchise for First Great Western until April 2019.

First Great Western will retain their franchise until April 2019 Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Government says it'll mean more trains into Devon and Cornwall, faster journeys between Penzance and Paddington and the introduction of 369 new carriages through the roll-out of new hi-tech Intercity Express Programme trains built by Hitachi.

“I am determined that passengers in the West, Thames Valley and South Wales get a railway that is fit for the 21st century. This is a fantastic deal which will give them more seats, more services and brand new fleets of modern trains.

“This government knows the importance of our railways. That is why they are a vital part of our long term economic plan, with over £38 billion being spent on the network between 2014 and 2019."

– Patrick McLoughlin MP

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Travel: problems on trains between Plymouth and Totnes

Train services between Plymouth and Totnes are being disrupted while engineers are checking out a problem on the line.

First Great Western are organising replacement buses, but at the moment passengers are having to make their own way between the two stations.

Trains from Totnes to Plymouth are not affected.

It's hoped that the situation will be resolved by midday.

Rail passengers face Christmas misery

Engineering works will affect services to and from Devon and Cornwall Credit: PA

Rail passengers in the South West face travel misery over Christmas because of engineering works.

Services to and from Devon and Cornwall will end earlier on Christmas Eve - and some will be diverted causing long delays.

Passengers are advised to check before they travel.

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