Liverpool train strikes: the Merseyrail and Lime Street services ‘severely’ affected by RMT national strike

Over 40,000 Network Rail workers and 14 train companies walked out on Wednesday leading to disrupted train services across the North West and Merseyside. Here is all the latest information.

Network Rail workers across the North West are taking part in a huge national strike action on Wednesday as over 40,000 staff walkout in a dispute over pay and safety.

Members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) voted in favour of strike action across Network Rail and 14 train operating companies.

The strike action will affect services from Liverpool Lime Street and also impact on Merseyrail services.

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Merseyrail staff are not directly involved, but the signal operators on the network are employed by Network Rail and will be taking part in the strike action.

The train strike comes with workers on Liverpool’s major bus provider Arriva already on a continuous strike, which began last Wednesday.

The strike is affecting the majority of services throughout the region as 1,800 drivers and staff walked out of transport depots.

When are the strikes scheduled to take place?

Passengers arrive at Liverpool Lime Street Station. Image: PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

The planned strike action is set to take place across a 24-hour period this week.

RMT members throughout the UK will walkout on Wednesday, 27 July 2022.

Why are workers going on strike?

Much like that of the Arriva, Stagecoach and Royal Mail strike action, the main motivation of the RMT strike is over pay issues.

The trade unions have been in discussion with officials at Network Rail over a pay increase given the rate of inflation and crippling cost of living crisis in the United Kingdom currently.

Both had been in deep-rooted conversation since the biggest rail strikes in 30 years took place over three days in June 2022.

Railway strikers had voted overwhelmingly in favour of striking across Network Rail and 15 train operating companies.

With a turnout of 71%, 89% voted in favour of striking last month.

However, talks have since stalled between RMT and Network Rail, leading to yet another day of planned strike action that will hit Liverpool’s railway services on Wednesday.

Mick Lynch, who is the RMT general secretary, said that its members are more determined than ever to fight for better treatment by Network Rail and will not be bullied by officials: “Strike action will take place this Wednesday as planned and our members are more determined than ever to secure a decent pay rise, job security and good working conditions.”

“Network Rail have not made any improvement on their previous pay offer and the train companies have not offered us anything new.

“In fact Network Rail have upped the ante threatening to impose compulsory redundancies and unsafe 50% cuts to maintenance work, if we did not withdraw our planned strike action.” he added in an official statement.

“The train operating companies have put driver-only operations on the table along with ransacking our members’ terms and conditions.

“RMT will continue to negotiate in good faith but we will not be bullied or cajoled by anyone.

“The government needs to stop their interference in this dispute so the rail employers can come to a negotiated settlement with us.”

What will be the impact on Lime Street and Merseyrail services?

A woman on her phone as a Merseyrail train approaches. Image: Gabriel - stock.adobe.com

Network Rail have confirmed that due to the strike action taken on by over 40,000 workers and 14 train operating companies that only 20% of services will run on Wednesday.

Some regions and cities, such as Blackpool, Portsmouth and Bournemouth, will have no train services running in or out at all.

But what will the situation look like in Liverpool on strike day?

The following train operating companies that run services in and around Liverpool will be drastically affected by the planned strike action:

Passengers have been warned by Network Rail that if they plan to go through Liverpool Lime Street Station on Wednesday that trains will finish much earlier than normal.

Only two trains per hour are scheduled to be running on at least 50% of the network, with Lime Street’s last trains scheduled to leave between 3pm and 5pm, with final arrivals at 6:3pm.

Despite the fact that Merseyrail are not a part of the industrial action, the railway company will still run ‘severely reduced’ services as their Network Rail staff who operate signalling systems and maintenance are involved.

Instead, the Merseyside operator will only run an hourly service at selected train stations, which includes:

  • Chester and Ellesmere Port line -  No trains from Chester or Ellesmere Port. Trains will start at Rock Ferry, only calling at Rock Ferry, Birkenhead Central, Hamilton Square, Moorfields and Liverpool Central
  • New Brighton Line - Trains will start at New Brighton and call at Wallasey Grove Road, Birkenhead North, Birkenhead Park, Hamilton Square, Moorfields and Liverpool Central
  • West Kirby line – Trains will start at West Kirby and call at Meols, Moreton, Leasowe, Birkenhead North, Birkenhead Park, Hamilton Square, Moorfields and Liverpool Central
  • Southport line - Trains will start at Southport and call at Formby, Blundellsands & Crosby, Waterloo, Moorfields and Liverpool Central
  • Ormskirk line – Trains will start at Ormskirk and call at  Maghull, Aintree, Kirkdale, Moorfields and Liverpool Central
  • Kirkby line – Trains will start at Kirkby and will call at Fazakerley, Rice Lane, Kirkdale, Moorfields and Liverpool Central
  • Hunts Cross line - no services will run

To view the strike timetables, visit the Merseyrail website.

Please note that there will be no rail replacement buses on strike day and passengers are therefore advised to make other arrangements.

What has been said by Network Rail officials?

Phil James, Network Rail’s North West route director, said: “With a fraction of the usual workforce available, including signallers who safely move trains around the network there will be a severely limited service during RMT strike action tomorrow (27th July). Many North West routes won’t be served at all, once again pointlessly causing misery for millions of rail passengers.

“I can only apologise for the impact another RMT strike will have on people’s lives, especially those travelling for holidays or attending events such as the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 semi-final in Milton Keynes (Wednesday 27th) and the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham (Thursday 28th).

“It is frustrating to yet again ask our passengers to change their plans and only make essential journeys.”