Rail strike: Greater Manchester transport bosses give travel advice as train employees walk out
Passengers are being warned to expect serious disruption, with some Metrolink trams also impacted, and have been urged not to travel by train if possible.
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Transport bosses in Greater Manchester have issued travel advice for the latest day of rail strike action.
Industrial action is set to cause serious disruption on Wednesday (27 July) as employees once again walk out in a major dispute over issues including pay, threats of job losses and working conditions.
Here is the advice that has been given for anyone needing to get around the city-region during the strike.
What travel advice has been given to passengers for the strike day?
A number of train operators have advised people not to travel on Wednesday as there are extremely limited services available.
Some rail stations are closed, while others are operating outside of the normal times, and there are no rail replacement buses.
TfGM says the Metrolink is also affected, with the Altrincham line only running between Altrincham and Timperley between 7am and 7pm. This is because the tram service relies on Network Rail signallers, who will be involved in the industrial action, to get through that section of the network safely.
However, buses are in use outside of those times between Altrincham and Timperley, TfGM said.
The transport body said additional double trams are running across the Metrolink network, with areas with the greatest demand being prioritised for the extra carriages to help passengers get around.
Bus services are operating as normal on Wednesday, with the exception of Arriva North West services which are not running at all due to strike action in a separate industrial dispute being taken by the Unite and GMB unions.
TfGM has also warned that disruption to public transport could stretch into Thursday (28 July) as well. Passengers travelling on Thursday are advised to regularly check the status of their journey, particularly before they travel. They should also arrive early if possible and expect services to be busier than normal.
In addition, from 7pm on Wednesday until 7am on Thursday Piccadilly station is closed, although the Piccadilly Metrolink station remains open during the closure.
Access to the tram stop during the 12 hours is via the walkway adjacent to the taxi pick-up point on Fairfield Street, with level access to both the Manchester and Ashton-bound platforms via the track crossing next to Fairfield Street.
TfGM has set up a dedicated page on its website to help people get around during the strike with the latest information, which can be accessed here.
What about intercity train services?
TransPennine Express (TPE) has said the only intercity services to and from Manchester that are running on the strike day are the trains on the routes from Manchester Airport to Preston and Piccadilly to York.
Passengers are being urged to travel only if absolutely necessary and to expect trains to be much busier than normal. Delays and further cancellations also could not be ruled out, TPE admitted.
Anyone who has to get on the railways on Wednesday should plan carefully before leaving home and allow extra time for the journey. Disruption after the strike day should also be expected, the operator said.
Bikes are also not being allowed on TPE trains on Wednesday.
For more information, including the most up-to-date train times, visit the TPE website here.
What has been said about the strike day?
TfGM’s head of operations, Alex Cropper, said: “The message to avoid rail travel during the industrial action days is very clear from train operators – meaning tens of thousands of displaced journeys in Greater Manchester alone.
“We are expecting some passengers to adapt their journey plans and I would remind people that there are thousands of free car parking spaces available at our park and ride sites across Greater Manchester at key local bus and Metrolink - offering a great alternative to get around.
“However you do plan to get around, our key bit of advice is to plan your journey in advance and allow extra time when travelling.”
Kathryn O’Brien, customer service and operations director for TransPennine Express, said: “While we will do our best to keep those making essential journeys moving, we will only be able to provide a limited service across a handful of routes.
“We are urging anyone planning travel on the impacted date to seek alternative transport and only travel if absolutely necessary, with disruption also expected on the days either side of the strike.”