Belfast Telegraph

Rail passengers suffer strikes, signal failures and broken down trains

Strikes, signal failures and broken down trains disrupted rail travel for passengers returning to work and school on Monday.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) at Southern, Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North walked out amid worsening industrial relations in the industry.

Picket lines were mounted outside stations across the country as deadlock continued in disputes over the role of guards and driver-only trains.

South Western Railway services were hit by a series of problems including two broken-down trains as well as signal and points failures.

Southern Railway trains were disrupted by a signal failure at Redhill.

The Southern dispute started more than 16 months ago, and the RMT has taken 34 days of strike action.

Southern said it planned to run most services despite the strike, although there were a number of cancellations.

The number of Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North trains was reduced.

Services at both companies were mainly running between 7am and 7pm.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, said. "These strikes are about putting passenger safety before private profit and those that seek to undermine the safety culture on our railways in order to fill their own pockets should be called to account and forced back to the negotiating table.

"The resilience and determination of our members in the three separate disputes over passenger safety is right at the forefront again.

"Support remains absolutely solid in all areas as RMT members continue the fight to put safety and access before private profit on Britain's railways.

"It's now time for Chris Grayling (Transport Secretary) and this minority Government to stop the great British rail rip-off, end the wholesale destruction of our rail safety culture and force his private contractors back to the negotiating table."

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies and Network Rail, said: "Train companies are doing all they can to keep passengers moving on the day many students return to school or college, and people are going back to work.

"Rail companies are working hard to upgrade the railway to support passengers and our economy now and for the long term, including 6,400 more services a week by 2021."

A Network Rail spokesman said: "A number of unrelated track and train issues have caused delays to journeys this morning, and into this afternoon, across the South Western Rail network.

"We apologise to passengers for any disruption to their journeys today and thank them for their patience while our engineers work hard to fix the problems.

"We ask all passengers to check before they travel today."

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