The National Rail Inquiries website has shut down as commuters try to find out which services are running amid the biggest rail dispute in years. Passengers attempting to use the service to find out which trains are running during the rail strike receive a message stating: “500 Internal Server Error”.
Chiltern Railways, which runs services to and from London Marylebone, also apologized as its website also went down. And in other travel headaches for passengers, signal failures between London Euston and Rugby, and London Paddington and Heathrow on Monday night, added to the chaos as the strike approached.
A usually busy Euston station in London was nearly deserted on Tuesday morning, with only a tiny fraction of the usual crowd of commuters in attendance. Just over two dozen people waited for a reduced number of trains during what would normally be rush hour. At Birmingham New Street, the station was quieter than a typical Tuesday morning rush, with travelers appearing to have either decided to work from home or found other ways to get to their offices.
At the platforms, the 7.34am service to Northampton, the next oldest train to London, was sold out, but passengers had all managed to get seats. Train marshals also helped people plan any further journeys.
RMT union pickets, which had been out since around 6am, were posted at all main entrances to Birmingham New Street station, as well as outside the city’s eye-catching concrete signal box in Navigation Street nearby. Although none of the pickets were allowed to speak to the media, the mood of the members was optimistic.
There was some visible support from the public, with a handful of drivers honking their horns, but most people driving to work in the city center simply glanced at the picket lines before driving off. Continue. Only 20% of services are expected to operate today, the first of three strikes scheduled for this week.
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