Freight 'to be given priority over passenger trains' during strikes

All change! Freight trains will be given priority over passenger services under emergency plans drawn up to keep supermarkets stocked amid union rail strike plans

  • Plans drawn up that will see tracks reserved for goods trains if strikes go ahead
  • Unions want inflation pay rises and for Network Rail to ditch 2,500 job cuts 
  • Ballot of 40,000 Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union closes next week 
  • Freight trains will be given priority over passenger services under emergency plans to keep supermarkets stocked if rail strikes go ahead.

    Last week, the Daily Mail revealed union plans for a ‘summer of discontent’ that would be the biggest walkout since the General Strike.

    In response, rail firms are drawing up plans to reserve tracks for goods trains, which each carry as much as 72 lorries.

    A ballot of 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union closes on Tuesday.

    Freight trains will be given priority over passenger services under emergency plans to keep supermarkets stocked if rail strikes go ahead. [File image]

    Freight trains will be given priority over passenger services under emergency plans to keep supermarkets stocked if rail strikes go ahead. [File image]

    The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association is poised to ballot 20,000 members, and the drivers’ union, Aslef, is also balloting members.

    The unions want pay rises in line with inflation and Network Rail to ditch 2,500 job cuts which they say are critical to safety.

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will discuss the plans with the Prime Minister and Chancellor next week.

    Mick Whelan, the boss of Aslef, said: ‘How hard they dig their heels in or not will determine what happens, when it happens and how it happens in terms of the strikes.’