Majority of train services across Wales to be suspended during mass strikes
The majority of rail services across Wales will be suspended during a series of mass strikes this week, with Transport for Wales urging people not to rely on trains.
Railway workers across the UK are set to walk out in a growing dispute over pay, jobs and pensions.
Described as the biggest outbreak of industrial action in the industry in a generation, it is set to cause massive travel chaos during a week of big UK events.
The Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers union (RMT) says its members at Network Rail and 13 train operators will strike on three different days.
While Transport for Wales (TfW) itself is not in dispute with the union, the strike means it will be unable to operate rail services on Network Rail infrastructure.
The result is that rail services across the Wales and Borders network will be impacted, TfW said.
Read on to find out how this might affect you.
When are the rail strikes happening?
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail and 13 train operators will strike on June 21, 23 and 25.
Disruption can also be expected on June 22 and 24, when there are no strikes planned, as trains will not be in the correct positions due to the action taken on the days before.
RMT and Unite union have also announced another 24-hour strike on London Underground in a separate row over jobs and pensions. This is planned for June 21.
Why are rail workers striking?
The disputes are over pay, jobs and pensions, with the union complaining that railway staff who worked through the pandemic are facing job cuts, a pay freeze and attacks on employment conditions.
Which rail operators are involved?
The following thirteen UK operators are involved with the strike:
Cross Country Trains
East Midlands Railway
Great Western Railway
South Western Railway
Avanti West Coast
West Midlands Trains
It adds up to around 80% of Britain’s rail services either cancelled or running reduced services.
Even operators not taking part in the strikes will be affected - that’s because staff like signallers and station managers are part of Network Rail and will be involved in the walkout.
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...
Which rail services in Wales will be affected?
The only services running on 21 and 23 June will be a reduced service between Radyr and Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil, with replacement bus services between Radyr and Cardiff Central.
On 25 June, this will be reduced further to services between Radyr and Treherbert, Aberdare and Pontypridd, with replacement buses in operation between Radyr and Cardiff Central, and between Pontypridd and Merthyr Tydfil due to the ongoing transformation work for the South Wales Metro.
All other services will be suspended, as signalling and other infrastructure work is managed by Network Rail, who are impacted by the industrial action.
There is also expected to be disruption on the days prior and after the industrial action, with early morning services in particular likely to be affected. Trains are also expected to be extremely busy throughout the entire week.
As a result, TfW is advising that customers only make essential journeys by train on 20, 22, 24 and 26 June, and not to travel at all by train on 21, 23 and 25 June.
Full details of the timetable for these days will be available from 16 June. Customers can find these on the Transport for Wales, Traveline and National Rail websites using the journey planners.
Can I get a refund on my ticket?
Transport for Wales customers with existing non-season tickets valid for travel from Tuesday 21 June to Saturday 25 June can use those tickets anytime between Monday 20 June and Monday 27 June.
Alternatively, customers can claim a full refund, with no admin fee charged. Season ticket holders can apply for compensation via Delay Repay.
In the meantime, TfW is suspending sales of Advance tickets for the first three strike dates in order to minimise the number of people disrupted.
TfW is advising customers continue to check the Transport for Wales or Traveline websites, and those of other operators, for updates.
Which UK events might be affected by the strike action?
Glastonbury Festival starts on June 22 and runs until June 26, with many festival-goers planning to travel to the site by train.
Other events that week include England playing New Zealand in a test cricket match in Leeds, the British athletics championships in Manchester, and gigs in London’s Hyde Park by Elton John (June 24) and the Rolling Stones (June 25).
There will also be a Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London on June 24 to 25 and it is Armed Forces Day on June 25 which will see commemorative events take place across the country.
What are those involved in the strikes saying?
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "Railway workers have been treated appallingly and, despite our best efforts in negotiations, the rail industry, with the support of the Government, has failed to take their concerns seriously.
"We have a cost-of-living crisis, and it is unacceptable for railway workers to either lose their jobs or face another year of a pay freeze when inflation is at 11.1% and rising.
"Our union will now embark on a sustained campaign of industrial action which will shut down the railway system."
Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said the organisation is "doing everything we can" to avoid the strike action.
"There are two weeks until the first strike is planned. We will use this time to keep talking to our unions and, through compromise and common sense on both sides, we hope to find a solution and avoid the damage that strike action would cause all involved," he said.
Rail Delivery Group chairman Steve Montgomery said the strikes are "needless and damaging".