Update 19 December 2012 17.00 – Thank goodness that the ScotRail and Cross Country Christmas strikes have now been called off. However it’s been an unnerving time for passengers wondering how their festive travel plans would be affected.
Shame on you rail workers and managers for the forthcoming strikes in the UK during the busy pre-Christmas period. Strikes will affect ScotRail on 22 and 24 December and Cross Country on 21 December 2012. It’s such a time honoured strategy for transport workers to strike during peak periods in order to cause the maximum disruption to travellers. I don’t know all the ins and outs of why the current disputes between workers and management can’t be resolved by some kind of compromise and why strike action is deemed necessary.
Our sons, one who lives in Edinburgh and other in Glasgow, were due to travel by train to Berwick upon Tweed on Christmas Eve. I asked East Coast on Twitter if their trains between Edinburgh and Berwick upon Tweed would be running normally on 24/12. Their response was “they should as it this will only affect ScotRail services“. I’d have felt much more confident if that should had been a will.
I tweeted ScotRail, as there was no information on their site, asking which services, if any, would be running on Christmas Eve. They replied “the majority of services will run, timetable and service information as a result of RMT Union action will be available from early next week“. Now, given that the majority could be as little of 51% of trains, that’s not very reassuring.
I also asked ScotRail if passengers who’ve bought a ticket for a train which is cancelled due to the strike will be able get a refund. They answered “providing your service is cancelled as a result of RMT strike & no rep(lacement) transport, then yes a full refund will be given“.
Well, remembering the rather chaotic and slow replacement bus service between Edinburgh and Berwick upon Tweed during weekend track maintenance, I wouldn’t recommend using it.
With the uncertainty of precisely which trains and/or replacement services will be running on strike days, where does that leave travellers? Up a creek with no paddle, or, if they manage to elbow their way to the front of the queue, maybe on a slow bus. Hardly the stuff of happy Christmas holidays.
Update 5pm 17 December 2012 – I just read that there will be London Tube strikes on Boxing Day (26 December 2012), as well as on the 18 and 25 January 2013.