Advice has today been issued to travellers ahead of planned industrial action and disruption on the West Midlands rail network starting this Saturday.
Transport bosses have been working with bus, Metro and rail operators on plans to minimise the impact on weekend travellers and keep the region moving in the run up to Christmas.
Strike action is due take place on West Midlands Railway (WMR) and London Northwestern Railway (LNR) services every Saturday in November and December, starting 16 November.
It follows a dispute between the operators and the National Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) Union, whose members have been instructed not to report for duty.
On days when industrial action is taking place, the Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) Regional Transport Coordination Centre will be in operation to provide oversight of bus, Metro and train services. The Centre will also monitor the road network during the action.
WMR and LNR will be running a less frequent service than usual on strike days with a reduced number of trains per hour and not all stops being served.
During the disruption West Midland Metro will accept WMR and LNR tickets on all services and will run additional trams on Saturday 23 November to make sure West Bromwich Albion fans can reach their home game against Sheffield Wednesday on time.
Network ticket holders will be able to travel on any train and bus in the West Midlands during this time.
Virgin, Cross Country, Chiltern and Transport for Wales services are due to run a Saturday service as planned but are expected to be busier than normal, as people make their way to and from Christmas markets across the region.
TfWM, part of the West Midlands Combined Authority, has issued the following advice to passengers travelling on a strike day:
- Plan ahead: Check your journey now and again the day before you travel as timetables may change at the last minute.
- Leave more time for journeys: trains will be busier than usual. Don’t aim for the last train home, get there early and expect to queue.
- Consider your options: The West Midlands Metro is a good alternative to train if you are travelling between Wolverhampton and Birmingham.
Anne Shaw, Director for Network Resilience, TfWM, said: “We’ve been working closely with train and bus companies and our Metro team to understand how we can keep people moving while there is a reduced service on WMR and LNR.
“Services will be especially busy as we get closer to Christmas but plan ahead, stick to public transport wherever possible and leave more time for your journeys and you will still be able to enjoy the festive period.”