Page last updated at 12:24 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 13:24 UK

Travellers struggle with strike

Inverness Railway Station
Services have been wound down with only selected trains running

Commuters in Scotland have been struggling to make their way around the country as the first of two rail signal worker strikes gets under way.

The action by 450 RMT members is due to run until midday on Wednesday with most services virtually shut down by 1900 BST on Tuesday.

Oil workers in Aberdeen have been faced with problems as they returned onshore.

Most services north of Perth will not be running and reduced services were operating in the central belt.

In Aberdeen, the station's concourse was empty from mid-morning with passengers being directed onto coaches at the neighbouring bus station, which is in the process of being redeveloped.

An Edinburgh to Aberdeen service was the last to arrive at 1130 BST.

One oil worker said: "I just came from offshore and obviously we knew the strike was on, but we didn't know how badly we would be affected.

"The bus is going to be leaving roughly the same time as my train would be but obviously it will take a bit longer."

James Geddes
Why were people not notified earlier on, people who'd already booked their ticket? It cost me 70
James Geddes
Dundee
In Inverness, the station was also almost empty.

In Dundee buses were running to Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Bruce Spence, 44, from Dundee, was heading to London where he works as an engineering team leader for Eurostar.

He was told he would have to take the bus to Edinburgh, then hopefully catch a train to London.

He said: "I knew it was coming - I work in the rail industry and I knew that there were problems with the signalmen and the conditions that they were trying to keep.

"It's inconvenient, but the guys have to fight for their conditions and if it means we're inconvenienced a wee bit, well so be it."

James Geddes, 72, from Dundee, was supposed to be visiting his niece in Rotherham.

His train was due at 1104 BST but it was cancelled.

He said: "They said to me I'd have to catch the bus from here to Edinburgh, then catch the train from Edinburgh to York. I'm upset about that, it's too much hassle after buying my ticket - it's a return ticket.

RAIL STRIKE INFORMATION

"Why were people not notified earlier on, people who'd already booked their ticket? It cost me 70 and it's a lot of money so I don't know what to do now."

Shirley Roberts, from Forfar, was going on holiday to Blackpool with her two grandchildren, her daughter, her son-in-law and her mother.

She said: "I'm really gutted, nothing was written down or anything telling you what to do.

"We're now going to get a lift in the car down to Edinburgh and try to get a train from Edinburgh down. They should've told you on the website what was happening, but they said there would be trains travelling."

Talks to resolve the rail dispute, called over changes to rosters and safety assessments, are expected to take place on Wednesday after the first strike ends. The second round of action is due to take place from midday on Thursday.


SEE ALSO
Scotland hit by rail staff strike
07 Oct 08 |  Scotland
Q&A: Rail signal workers strike
07 Oct 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Rail strike on after talks fail
06 Oct 08 |  Scotland
Railway workers vote for strikes
11 Sep 08 |  England

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