Josh Salisbury,Barney Davis and Daniel Keane
Thu, 5 January 2023 at 7:12 am GMT
Commuters in London are battling a second consecutive day of travel disruption as tens of thousands of workers at Network Rail and train operators continue the first of two 48-hour walkouts this week.
Across the country around half of railway lines are closed and only a fifth of services are running as the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) continues its industrial action crippling the transport network.
Train drivers in the Aslef union will strike on Thursday before a second two-day RMT strike begins on Friday.
In London, Wednesday’s strike is affecting the Elizabeth Line which is running a severely delayed service between Paddington and Reading/Heathrow, and between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.
The walkout was also hitting the London Underground on Wednesday morning with several services partly suspended, including the Bakerloo and District lines. The London Overground is operating a reduced service until 6.30pm.
Some of the worst disruption was on the Circle Line, which at 11.25am was said by TfL to be “suspended due to train cancellations”.
Technology company TomTom said traffic congestion in London increased from 22% to 27% at 8am on Tuesday compared with the first working day of 2022.
Passenger footfall was down 84% on Tuesday compared with the average Tuesday, data from 20 Network Rail managed stations shows.
The new leader of the TUC on Wednesday called for an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister in a bid to break deadlocked industrial disputes across the country.
Paul Nowak called for a change in government direction, saying ministers should open pay negotiations with unions.
In a letter to Rishi Sunak, Mr Nowak said public services were in crisis after years of “underfunding and understaffing”.
It comes after a poll suggested more Britons now oppose the rail strikes than those who back them.
Acording to the YouGov poll, less than half of the public back industrial action on the railways (43%).