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'Vast' rail strike averted for now

Hundreds of routes would have been affected by the strikes Photo: PA Wire

It's another 11th hour reprieve for millions of rail passengers.

The strike was planned to be 24 hours from Thursday at 5pm - and it would have been a miserable time for commuters.

That has now been suspended following four days of intensive talks. Also called off, for now, is an overtime ban by signallers and maintenance staff scheduled for 6-12 June.

The dispute concerns a new four-year deal, with £500 this year, followed by three years of increases in line with RPI inflation.

My understanding is that has been enhanced to a 2% rise this year, 1.4% next year, with no compulsory redundancies for the duration of the agreement.

Although train companies had not released details of the specific disruption, it's my understanding that, for example, just about all services on the West Coast Mainline between London and Manchester would have been hit - and very many on the East Coast Mainline.

Around the country hundreds of routes would have been affected - I'd been talking to train operators about the potential scale of this and the two words that kept cropping up were "severe" and "vast".

RMT says it has suspended the strike action having received a revised package.

It's important to note the new offer has not been accepted - the union will now consult with members.

So this has not necessarily gone away entirely - but has gone away for this week.